'Living on the Land' Stewardship Education Program Expansion

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2006: $160,204.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Region: Western
State: Idaho
Principal Investigator:
Stephanie Etter
University of Idaho Extension

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: corn
  • Fruits: grapes, berries (strawberries), melons
  • Vegetables: beans, beets, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucurbits, eggplant, garlic, greens (leafy), onions, parsnips, peas (culinary), peppers, rutabagas, sweet corn, tomatoes, turnips, brussel sprouts
  • Additional Plants: herbs, native plants, ornamentals
  • Animals: bovine, poultry, goats, sheep, swine
  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Animal Production: parasite control, feed rations, free-range, manure management, grazing - multispecies, pasture fertility, pasture renovation, watering systems
  • Crop Production: continuous cropping, cover crops, fallow, nutrient cycling, organic fertilizers
  • Education and Training: technical assistance, demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, focus group, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: community-supported agriculture, marketing management, market study, risk management, value added, whole farm planning
  • Pest Management: allelopathy, biological control, chemical control, disease vectors, economic threshold, field monitoring/scouting, flame, genetic resistance, integrated pest management, physical control, row covers (for pests), sanitation, soil solarization, weather monitoring, weed ecology
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management
  • Soil Management: composting, green manures, soil analysis, nutrient mineralization, organic matter, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, partnerships, urban agriculture, urban/rural integration, analysis of personal/family life, social networks, sustainability measures


    The Idaho Living on the Land (LOL) program has been highly successful, showing significant increases in participants' knowledge of tools of small acreage management. LOL participants during 2007-2010 own or manage over 4,100 acres in the Treasure Valley of Idaho. Follow-up with the participants has shown documented behavior change, both short- and medium-term. The market garden variety trial yielded results that will be beneficial to market gardeners, and home gardeners as well. The drought tolerant, low-input turf trial showed there are viable options to the typical bluegrass lawn that are aesthetically pleasing and conserve water.

    Project objectives:

    1. Increase awareness and availability of LOL educational programs in the Treasure Valley of Idaho and Eastern Oregon by offering the program at three sites.

    In 2007 two classes were held. In 2008-2010 three classes were held per year.

    2. Market, conduct and evaluate an annual LOL instructor development and training short course to support Idaho LOL sites and other LOL western delivery teams.

    Instructor trainings were held in the fall of 2006, 2007 and 2008. New instructors for the Idaho LOL program, Extension Educators from Oregon and Michigan, also attended the trainings.

    3. By 2009, instructors at three sites will train and certify one hundred and thirty five (135) small-acreage units from ten or more counties in Idaho and Oregon. Each unit will complete the LOL course, develop a small-acreage plan and implement stewardship practices advanced in the curriculum on their land.

    156 small acreage units completed the LOL course since 2007. They came from ten southwestern Idaho counties and one eastern Oregon county.

    4. Foster, develop and evaluate twenty-eight (28) or more youth- adult partnerships that address stewardship, life skills, attitudes, awareness and knowledge of the land by the next generation of land owners in the Treasure Valley.

    Ten youth-adult partnership units completed the LOL course. 2007-2, 2008-4, 2009-3, 2010-1

    5. Research, conduct, implement and evaluate on-farm demonstration and testing of market garden varieties, production practices with goats and pastured poultry, and use of grasses to reduce water use and to manage weeds at eight (8) sites.

    Research was conducted on market garden varieties and grasses to reduce water use at eight sites. We were unable to conduct any research on the goat and poultry production practices. We did feature goats and poultry on several tours that were conducted.

    6. Conduct implement and evaluate six (6) or more public ‘Living on the Land’ tours using on-farm demonstrations and test sites as the basis for public stewardship education by 2009.

    There were six LOL tours conduct from 2006-2009. The market garden variety trial was featured on the 2008 University of Idaho Parma Research & Extension Center Field Day.

    7. Create, pilot and submit for publication a new module for the LOL curriculum to address gaps in the existing curriculum on marketing and economics as stewards of small-acreages.

    Two lessons on marketing and economics were submitted by the University of Idaho Extension for consideration in the 2008 LOL curriculum revision. Both lessons are included in the 2008 LOL curriculum release.

    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.