- Animals: bovine
- Animal Products: dairy
- Animal Production: manure management
- Crop Production: nutrient cycling, organic fertilizers
- Education and Training: extension
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, value added, whole farm planning
- Natural Resources/Environment: soil stabilization
- Production Systems: holistic management
- Soil Management: composting, organic matter, soil analysis, nutrient mineralization, soil quality/health
- Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, urban/rural integration
Manure management is a critical link in sustainable livestock production and protecting water, air, and soil quality. However, the 4-H livestock curriculum includes no manure management. There are over 150,000 4-H youth with livestock projects in the western U.S. with no manure management training. Our goal is to train extension 4-H agents and 4-H volunteer leaders who will then teach youth in sustainable manure management practices. Youth will learn manure management skills that promote good stewardship and also learn life skills that enhance the quality of life for them and their communities. The addition of manure management into 4-H livestock curricula has the potential to have a significant environmental impact in both the short-term and the long-term as these future leaders and business people move into the workforce. We will develop a 4-H Manure Management curriculum that includes the following topics: Livestock and the Community, Protecting Water Quality, Protecting Air Quality, Composting, Manure Utilization, and Economics of Manure Management. We will also develop a "Helper's Guide" that will provide additional learn-by-doing activities. We will pilot test the curriculum with the Colorado Front Range 4-H Staff and make revisions to improve it. We will print 3,000 copies of the curriculum for distribution among all western states. We will develop a youth-friendly webpage where the curriculum will be widely available within the western region and beyond. We will train 4-H agents and volunteer leaders in the use of the curriculum. We are aiming for short-term, medium-term, and long-term outcomes. In the short term, we expect to enhance awareness of environmental issues related to livestock production and increase knowledge of manure management practices among extension 4-H agents and volunteer leaders. In the medium term, we aim to improve the skills of 4-H agents and leaders, in particular, to increase their ability to provide educational programs in manure management to 4-H youth. We will provide curricula and training in its use in order to achieve this aim. In the long term, we anticipate that 4-H agents and leaders will use the curriculum and encourage youth participating in the 4-H livestock programs to complete the Manure Management Achievement Program. We expect that agents and leaders will be able to document behavioral changes in participating youth. Behavioral changes may include an increased number of youth who are composting manure, changes in corrals to prevent manure contaminated runoff, and utilization of manure at agronomic rates. This project involves faculty and extension 4-H agents from Colorado State University. The youth are the livestock producers. In addition, the leader of the curriculum development team is a small acreage farmer.
Project objectives from proposal:
The first activity will be the development of the curriculum followed by its review and subsequent publication.
We will also develop a "Helper's Guide" that will provide additional learn-by-doing activities.
We will pilot test the curriculum in a Front Range 4-H Staff Meeting and make revisions to improve it.
We will print 3,000 copies of the curriculum for distribution among all western states.
We will develop a youth-friendly webpage where the curriculum will be widely available within the western region and beyond.
We will train 4-H agents and volunteer leaders in the use of the curriculum.