Developing Distance Learning Based on Perceptions and Knowledge of Producers and Agricultural Professionals

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2005: $98,819.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: Western
State: Montana
Principal Investigator:
Fabian Menalled
Dept. of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: barley, canola, grass (misc. perennial), hay


  • Animal Production: feed/forage
  • Crop Production: cover crops, fallow, no-till, nutrient cycling, organic fertilizers
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, networking
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns
  • Pest Management: biological control, chemical control, competition, cultural control, economic threshold, integrated pest management, physical control, precision herbicide use, weed ecology
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems
  • Soil Management: green manures, organic matter, nutrient mineralization


    With funds provided by Western SARE, we evaluated the needs, knowledge, and concerns of agricultural professionals who were likely to enroll in distance education programs in sustainable agriculture. We utilized the results of this survey to develop and deliver three WEB-CT based distance learning workshops on sustainable agriculture. Each one of eight-week workshops on sustainable agriculture included topics on pest management, water use efficiency and cropping systems, nutrient management, and relevant economy and policy. We have further utilized the information gathered in this survey to write a manuscript entitled currently under review at the Journal of Agricultural Education.

    Project objectives:

    1. Assess producers, NRCS personnel, certified crop advisers, and extension agents’ perceptions and knowledge on sustainable agriculture

    2. Develop and deliver distance learning courses and field days on sustainable agriculture issues tailored to audience needs

    3. Facilitate audience interaction through the electronic framework provided by the WebCT platform

    4. Evaluate audience acceptance of this alternative extension program including the effects on audience interaction, audience learning, and the usefulness of the conveyed information

    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.