Forage and Pasture Educational Program for Extension, FSA, and NRCS in the Pacific Northwest

2006 Annual Report for EW05-012

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2005: $90,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Western
State: Idaho
Principal Investigator:
Glenn Shewmaker
University of Idaho

Forage and Pasture Educational Program for Extension, FSA, and NRCS in the Pacific Northwest


There is an immediate opportunity to develop and provide education and training in support of improved pasture and grazing management. The target audience is Cooperative Extension educators; Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and Conservation Districts personnel; Farm Service Agency (FSA) employees; and other USDA, state, and local personnel. These people can then extend the knowledge to pasture operators through local workshops, tours, and farm visits. There are some local or state programs for educating and training producers, but no well organized or developed training for grass physiology in relation to grazing, plant materials available including legumes in mixes, fertilization, irrigation, and grazing management.

Objectives/Performance Targets

  1. Develop curricula to educate and train extension, NRCS, Conservation Districts, FSA, and other USDA and state personnel about forage physiology, plant growth and development, plant-animal relations, and management of integrated pasture-livestock systems.

    Improve extension and USDA personnel understanding and implementation of the principles of management intensive grazing featuring multi-day workshops conducted on demonstration ranches; hands-on workshops on cooperator’s operations; the development of extension bulletins; peer reviewed publications; and the development of a grazing manual for irrigated pasture with a western perspective.

    Develop a mentoring or support system for Pacific Northwest educators and graziers trying to implement sustainable grazing practices on irrigated pasture through the use of a list server, newsletter, and/or other appropriate communication technology.

    Collect data and develop reliable prediction equations to publish estimates of forage biomass for a range of canopy heights of several different forages. Develop a pasture stick for extension, NRCS, and producers to evaluate production on PNW pastures.

    Develop a pasture monitoring guide and score sheet, similar to the one developed by NRCS in Missouri, to facilitate practical forecasting and budgeting of forage production and to encourage the sustainable practices of grazing and pasture management. Emphasis will be placed on the benefits of plant diversity, ecosystem processes to the economics of a sustainable system and environmental and wildlife benefits from active goal-setting, monitoring, and management.


Seminars were held in Prosser, WA from 23-25 May 2006 and Logan, UT from September 21-23, 2006. There were 70 students from: state agriculture departments (1), extension (25), NRCS (31), conservation districts (8), industry (4), college student (1), and producer (4). The seminar/workshop used seven extension, two ARS, one industry, and four producer instructors. A detailed class syllabus and program were drafted and revised based on evaluations and experience with the workshops. A graduate student, Laura Hooper, assisted with the workshop and is collecting some data to validate the pasture prediction stick. Our next workshops are tentatively scheduled for June and September 2007 in central Oregon and Salmon, Idaho.

Evaluation of Logan Workshop
A summary of evaluations for 23 presentations and lab or field exercises rated from 1 (low value) to 5 (high value) by 36 participants was 0, 3, 16, 37, and 44% for 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 ratings, respectively.


Mylen Bohle
Area Extension Forage Specialist
Oregon State University
498 SE Lynn Blvd
Prineville, OR 97754-1949
Office Phone: 5414476228
Steven Fransen
Extension Forage Specialist
Washington State University
24106 N. Bunn Rd
Prosser, WA 99350-8694
Office Phone: 5097869266
Thomas Griggs
Forage Specialist
West Virginia University
Div. of Plant & Soil Sciences
P.O. Box 6108
Morgantown, WV 84322-4820
Office Phone: 3042936023