Extension and outreach supporting climate-resilient sustainale agriculture in Montana.

Project Overview

MW16-004
Project Type: Enhanced State Grants
Funds awarded in 2016: $24,998.00
Projected End Date: 04/01/2017
Grant Recipient: Montana State University
Region: Western
State: Montana
Principal Investigator:
Fabian Menalled
Dept. of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences

Information Products

Commodities

Not commodity specific

Practices

  • Animal Production: animal protection and health
  • Crop Production: crop improvement and selection, cropping systems
  • Education and Training: demonstration, display, extension
  • Pest Management: integrated pest management, weed ecology
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, dryland farming, organic agriculture

    Abstract:

    Agricultural sustainability depends as much on the natural resources required for production as it does on stakeholders’ knowledge and decisions. While progress has been made in identifying sustainable practices and understanding the decision-making process of agricultural stakeholders, new challenges require rethinking sustainable agriculture outreach activities. Specifically, in the face of unprecedented climate change, we need to understand the variables that influence the decision-making process of agricultural stakeholders to design extension programs geared towards enhancing the long-term sustainability of their initiatives.

    This proposal brings together an interdisciplinary team of experts in the areas of agro-ecology, food science, sociology, and education to develop, implement, and deliver educational material to address the effects of climate change on water-limited agricultural systems. The overall goal of this project is to understand the knowledge, needs, constraints, and perceptions of Montana agricultural producers and educators (hereafter stakeholders) related to climate change and agricultural mitigation practices. Through surveys we will fulfill or objectives of 1) identify audience perceptions, experiences, and priorities related to climate change 2) assess audience awareness of sustainable agricultural strategies to mitigate the impact of climate change. We will utilize the information obtained to 3) develop and deliver extension-based activities to advance audience environmental literacy on the effects of climate change on agricultural systems, mitigation practices, and resilience strategies to handle them. Extension activities will enhance audience’s 1) awareness about the impacts of climate change on production systems and 2) ability to implement climate- resilient strategies.

    Project objectives:

    1. I) Identify stakeholders’ perceptions, experiences, and priorities related to climate change.
    • Assess stakeholders’ awareness of sustainable agricultural strategies to mitigate the impact of climate
    • Develop and deliver extension-based activities to advance stakeholders literacy on the effects of climate change on agricultural systems, mitigation practices, and resilience
    • Evaluate participants’ engagement, understanding, and awareness of climate change effects and mitigation on agricultural Evaluation methods include: observations of the workshops and data analysis of satisfaction surveys administered pre and post-intervention. Surveys will include Likert-type and open-ended questions. Findings of the evaluation  will guide the revision of the extension activities.

     

    The first two objectives will allow us to compare multiple stakeholders’ (extension agents, farmers, and ranchers) knowledge, perceptions, values, practices, challenges, opportunities, and needs related to climate change and assess how these variations influence sustainable agricultural practices. This characterization is important for designing solutions such for sustainable agricultural practice and educational programs. The information generated in this project will, in turn, be used to develop effective curricula on principles and strategies regarding agricultural sustainability in the face of a change climate. Specific activities will include workshops, roundtable discussions, seminars, and technical bulletins. By taking into account the diversity of multiple stakeholders and their prior knowledge and perceptions, we hope to increase the usefulness of the information conveyed in Objective 3. Finally, we will formally evaluate the effeteness ofour educational activities and the findings will guide their revision.

    Proposed timetable

    Obj. 1 will be conducted in during the first ten months of this project. Activities will include: 1) prepare and distribute the survey, and 2) conduct univariate and multivariate analysis to evaluate stakeholders’  perceptions, experiences, and priorities  related to climate change.

    Obj. 2 will also be conducted in during the first ten months of this project. Activities will include: 1) prepare and distribute the survey, and 2) conduct univariate and multivariate analysis to assess stakeholders’ awareness of sustainable agricultural strategies to mitigate the impact of climate change.

    Obj. 3. The extension-based activates of this proposal will be conducted after we finish the data analysis (month 10). Because we regularly coordinate and participate in extension  programs across Montana  and the region, we forecast that we will continue these activities  beyond the length of this proposal

    Obj. 4. The evaluation of outcomes will be conducted during the last  two months of this project

    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.