Living on the Land: Teaching Small Acreage Owners to Conserve Their Natural Resources

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 1999: $80,400.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2002
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $29,060.00
Region: Western
State: Nevada
Principal Investigator:
Susan Donaldson
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Additional Plants: native plants, ornamentals


  • Animal Production: manure management, pasture fertility, pasture renovation, preventive practices, grazing - rotational, feed/forage
  • Crop Production: organic fertilizers
  • Education and Training: technical assistance, extension
  • Natural Resources/Environment: grass waterways, habitat enhancement, riparian buffers, riverbank protection, soil stabilization, wetlands, wildlife
  • Pest Management: cultural control, integrated pest management, physical control, precision herbicide use, mulching - vegetative, weed ecology
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Soil Management: composting, organic matter, soil analysis, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: urban agriculture, urban/rural integration, sustainability measures


    This project developed a curriculum and training for NRCS, Conservation District, and Extension personnel in eight western states who work with small acreage owners. The curriculum was based on key natural resource issues (goal setting, soil, water, plants and animals) and was reviewed by 17 professionals. Included are 15 PowerPoint lessons with lesson plans and evaluation tools, and an instructor’s guide. Forty-seven professionals attended the training in October and learned how to use the curriculum to develop a comprehensive small acreage program. Over 800 copies of the curriculum have been distributed to date to 34 states and Australia.

    Project objectives:

    1. Review and develop a module-based core curriculum readily adaptable to specific state issues that is appropriate for teaching owners of small acreages how to attain property goals while protecting their soil, water, plant, animal, and other natural resources.

      Publish the curriculum and make 100 copies available throughout the Western States.

      Provide training to Western States Cooperative Extension personnel, Natural Resources Conservation Service professionals, Conservation District volunteers and others to help them use the curriculum materials in community-based efforts to effectively target and reach this under-served audience.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.