Forage and Pasture Educational Program for Extension, FSA, and NRCS in the Pacific Northwest
We have developed and provided education and training in support of improved pasture and grazing management. The target audience was 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. We have provided well organized training materials and program for grass physiology in relation to grazing, plant materials available including legumes in mixes, fertilization, irrigation, and grazing management. The training materials including course syllabus, outlines, reference material, and Powerpoint(TM) presentations are now available. Summarization of forage prediction data should be completed by June 2008. The production of a Northwest Pasture and Grazing Management Guide should be completed in 2009.
- 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.
Workshops were held in Prineville, OR from 15-17 May 2007 and Salmon, ID from 18-20 September 2007. There were 55 students from: state agriculture departments, extension , NRCS, conservation districts, industry, college student, and producer. The seminar/workshop used seven extension, two ARS, two 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, assisted with the workshop and is collecting some data to validate the pasture prediction stick.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Evaluation of Prineville and Salmon Workshops
A summary of evaluations for 23 presentations and lab or field exercises rated from 1 (low value) to 5 (high value) by 36 participants averaged 4.3 overall for both workshops. Most comments were appreciative of the information and wanted more time allowed for presenters, even though the program was a full 3 days.
Extension Forage Specialist
Washington State University
24106 N. Bunn Rd
Prosser, WA 99350-8694
Office Phone: 5097869266
West Virginia University
Div. of Plant & Soil Sciences
P.O. Box 6108
Morgantown, WV 84322-4820
Office Phone: 3042936023