Western Integrated Nutrient Management Education Program
Successful nutrient management requires better communication among the parties responsible for planning and implementing changes in nutrient management practices: agricultural support professionals, farmers and regulatory officials. Key participants in this professional development project include Cooperative Extension and Natural Resources Conservation Service representatives from Oregon, Washington and Idaho. This project connects the diverse parties involved in nutrient management through interactive workshops and a website. The workshops also focus on improved nutrient management tools that are being collaboratively developed by the project team. Extension publications developed by the project team will be published as tri-state Extension publications.
The goal of the project is to increase the ability of agricultural professionals to support landowners in sustainable nutrient management decisions that minimize negative impact of nutrients on the environment and human health. To promote this goal the project has the following objectives:
Initial project organization and planning team activities
In September 2001, Mary Staben was began as the project coordinator The initial project meeting was held on October 4 and 5 in Oregon City, Oregon. The meeting was attended by the principal investigators from Idaho, Oregon and Washington, this included Dan Sullivan, John Hart, Robert Stevens, Brad Brown, Stefan Seiter, Michael Robotham, Don Horneck and Mary Staben. Many important topics were covered at this meeting, including the goals and outcomes of the project. The Project Team decided to create a more useful project name, Western Integrated Nutrient Management Education Project.
At the planning meeting it was decided that monthly teleconferences with the eleven-member project team would be a good way to stay connected and assist each other in developing educational programs. During the teleconferences upcoming events and ongoing activities are discussed and group decisions are made. To date, there have been hour-long teleconferences in November and December.
As listed in the project proposal, the core elements of the this project are:
1. Training workshops – six training events in Oregon, Washington and Idaho
2. A resource notebook and extension publications
3. A website and regular newsletters for continuous support and updates
Progress on core elements of project:
The first of a series of project workshops was held in Salem, Oregon in December. It consisted of an afternoon and morning session (4 hours total) within a larger meeting organized by NRCS for animal waste management training. Twenty-eight agricultural professionals, mainly NRCS and SWCD personnel, were in attendance with four trainers facilitation the exercises. Two interactive exercises were developed for the target audience. The first case study, developed using data provided by a local dairy farmer, was presented to workshop participants by an NRCS planner. Workshop participants were asked to evaluate the success of a dairy farm nutrient management system. The exercise stimulated a lively discussion of how nutrient management activities could be more successful from regulatory, environmental, and farmer perspectives. The second case study, developed using crop yield data collected in on-farm fertilizer trials, was presented by a university soil fertility specialist. Participants were asked to develop a nitrogen fertilizer recommendation based on data from eight field trials. Participants took on the roles of Extension, NRCS, fertilizer dealer, environmentalist, and grower in evaluating the data from field trials. Again, lively discussion ensued regarding the “correct” approach to developing a fertilizer recommendation. Workshop participants took a pre- and post-test. Overall, they reported that their knowledge of the process used to create a university nutrient management guide, criteria for making nutrient management recommendations and procedures for end of season analysis of a nutrient management plan increased as a result of the workshop.
For winter 2001-2002 there are five more workshops scheduled (Table 1). After the winter workshops are completed, there will likely be one or more subject areas that lend themselves to a modular training format. The purpose of the modules would be to allow for portability and ease of training for those involved in this project and others in the region that are interested in offering nutrient management education. There will be a series of workshops in 2003.
Workshop organizer, date and location for early 2002:
1) Brad Brown and Jason Ellsworth, Univ. of Idaho February 6, 2002 Boise, ID
2) Robert Stevens, WSU February 26-27, 2002 Prosser, WA
3) Joe Harrison, WSU February 28-March 1, 2002 Puyallup, WA
4) Dan Sullivan, OSU March 4-6, 2002 Western Oregon
5) Don Horneck, OSU March 18-20, 2002 Eastern Oregon
Publications and Resource Notebooks
Publication development has been a focus of all project meetings and teleconferences to date. The Project Team is currently planning to produce three or four Pacific Northwest Extension publications. The target date for a complete first draft of each publication and author(s) are listed below (* = publication coordinator).
Soil nitrate sampling and analysis. February, 2002. Dan Sullivan*, Craig Cogger and Don Horneck
Soil sampling to measure changes in nutrient availability: protocols and pitfalls.
June 2002. Mary Staben*, Robert Stevens, Jason Ellsworth, John Hart, Don Horneck and Dan Sullivan.
The Phosphorus Index: a field-scale screening tool for resource conservation. September, 2002. Robert Stevens*, Dan Sullivan and Steve Campbell.
Use and misuse of nutrient management guides or fertilizer guides. September, 2002. Dan Sullivan*, Don Horneck, Brad Brown and John Hart.
The Project Team decided that resource notebooks will be prepared for each workshop under direction of workshop coordinator for events in winter 2001-2002.
Website and Newsletters
The project website was posted in December 2001. The site can be viewed at http://www.css.orst.edu/nutrientmanage/. We will continue to develop the content of the project website. This group hopes to provide web-based testing for Certified Crop Advisors (CCA’s) through the use of the workshop modules created in 2002. There are numerous details to examine before this can move forward but the idea is to provide greater access to agricultural professional education at a lower cost than attending workshops.
A Project Fact Sheet has been produced and initial distribution has begun (see Attachments). The Project Team decided to use existing media, such as the Project Fact Sheet and sections of our publications to promote the project instead of creating a project newsletter. These items will be distributed to appropriate groups and agencies that produce nutrient management related publications and posted on the project website. A version of the Project Fact Sheet is being published in the January issue of OSU Department of Crop and Soil Science newsletter that is sent to 375 people, with about 300 agricultural professional recipients (non-university).
Major Participants (Project Team)
Dan Sullivan, State Contact, Oregon State University
Robert Stevens, State Contact, Washington State University
Brad Brown, State Contact, University of Idaho
Mary Staben, Coordinator, Oregon State University
John Hart, Oregon State University
Don Horneck, Oregon State University
Michael Robotham, Oregon State University
Joe Harrison, Washington State University
Craig Cogger, Washington State University
Jason Ellsworth, University of Idaho
Stefan Seiter, University of New Hampshire
Bruce Wilson, Conservation Planning Engineer, NRCS, Oregon
Steve Campbell, Soil Quality Specialist, NRCS, Oregon
Dean Moberg, Water Quality Specialist, NRCS, Oregon
Tom Gohlke, State Agronomist, NRCS, Oregon
Jim Wood, OnePlan Liaison, NRCS, Idaho
Valerie Oksendahl, Conservation Agronomist, NRCS, Washington
Molly Engle, Evaluation Specialist, Oregon State University
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
The major outcome expected from this project is that agricultural professionals will have greater skill in technical and participatory aspects of nutrient management. It is too early in the project to report significant outcomes. Our initial efforts have focused on development of evaluation procedures that will provide meaningful data on changes in attitudes and skills of agricultural professionals.
For the first training workshop (Oregon, December 2001) a pre and post-test evaluation was developed (see Attachments). This tool was used to determine if participants gained knowledge from the workshop activities. Molly Engle, OSU Extension Evaluation Specialist, will advise in the modification of the evaluation procedure.
Attachments for SARE annual report
Project Fact Sheet
Pre/Post Test Evaluation Tool
Nutrient Management Specialist
Washington State University
7612 Pioneer Way
Puyallup, WA 98371
Office Phone: 2534454638
Project PI, Soil Scientist
Principal Investigator, Oregon State University
Dept. of Crop and Soil Science
Corvallis, OR 97331
Office Phone: 5417375715
Irrigated Field Crop Specialist
Oregon State University
Hermiston Ag Res & Extn Center
PO Box 105
Hermiston, OR 97838-0105
Office Phone: 5415678321
Soil Science Extension Specialist
Washington State University
24106 N Bunn Road
Prosser, WA 99350-9687
Office Phone: 5097869231
Soil Fertility Specialist
University of Idaho
PO Box 1827
Twin Falls, ID 83303-1827
Office Phone: 2087363611
Extn Crop Management Specialist
University of Idaho
Parma Research & Extension Center
29603 U of I Lane
Parma, ID 83660-9637
Office Phone: 2087226701