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

    Proposal abstract:

    Knowledge based distance learning on sustainable agriculture

    Knowledge and communication are key components in the development and adoption of innovative, sustainable agricultural practices. Traditionally, Land-Grant Universities disseminate information through printed materials, conferences, and field days designed for a general audience. Usually, these programs are based on a limited number of problems identified by researchers as important.

    There is a growing interest in distance learning to teach sustainable farming. However, most of the programs do not include audience prior knowledge and perceptions in order to adjust the program to their needs. We will develop a Web-based educational program based on audiences' prior knowledge and perceptions and complement it with field days to demonstrate successful management practices in actual field production settings. We will evaluate the acceptance of this approach to extension.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    • Assess producers, NRCS personnel, certified crop advisers, and extension agents’ perceptions and knowledge on sustainable agriculture Develop and deliver distance learning courses and field days on sustainable agriculture issues tailored to audience needs Facilitate audience interaction through the electronic framework provided by the WebCT platform 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.