2018 Montana State University PDP Project

Project Overview

WSP17-010
Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2017: $37,999.63
Projected End Date: 12/31/2020
Grant Recipient: Montana State University
Region: Western
State: Montana
State Coordinator:
Shelley Mills
Montana State University Extension - Valley County

Commodities

  • Agronomic: oats
  • Fruits: berries (other)
  • Animals: bees, bovine
  • Animal Products: honey, meat

Practices

  • Animal Production: feed/forage, meat processing, meat product quality/safety, range improvement, rangeland/pasture management, watering systems
  • Crop Production: beekeeping
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, workshop
  • Energy: solar energy
  • Farm Business Management: farmers' markets/farm stands, value added
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, habitat enhancement
  • Pest Management: chemical control, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management, precision herbicide use, prevention, weed ecology
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, dryland farming, integrated crop and livestock systems
  • Sustainable Communities: community development, local and regional food systems, sustainability measures

    Abstract:

    a) Topic(s)- In 2017-2018, the Montana PDP aims at facilitating and increasing farmers,
    ranchers, agricultural professionals and educators, and citizens in Montana (audience, hereafter) gain knowledge and share experiences related to sustainable agriculture principles and tactics.
    The knowledge gained and experiences shares should, in turn, strengthen the audience’s ability to make informed decisions related to sustainable agriculture and natural resource management.
    To achieve this vision, four specific objectives are established: 1) provide support for in-depth
    training on sustainable agriculture through workshops, field days, professional meetings, and
    other activities as appropriated, 2) facilitate training opportunities for educators interested in
    agricultural sustainability, 3) promote and coordinate SARE-related activities, and 4)
    communicate, report, and evaluate the Montana PDP activities. Specific topics that will be
    covered could include climate change impacts and mitigation, cover crops and cropping system
    dive rsification, ecologically-based pest management, livestock and pasture management, local
    food production, and crop-livestock integration.
    b) Context, justification and assumptions.
    Sustainable agriculture is at the crossroads. Critics view sustainable agriculture production as an ideologically driven and ineffective approach to farming and ranching that does not allow
    humankind to respond to global challenges such as population growth and climate change.
    Concerns associated with sustainable agriculture include yield reductions, lack of effective pest
    and nutrient management tactics, soil erosion due to excessive tillage, and the use of land to
    grow green manures and cover crops instead of crops or animals for direct human consumption.
    Advocates of sustainable agriculture point to an environmentally benign approach to farming
    with reported increased soil health and ecosystem services, as well as socio-economic benefits.
    Thus, it is required to facilitate knowledge distribution on sustainable agriculture to enhance
    producers skills to meet growing demands for yields while sustaining the environment’s ability
    to provide for social, and ecological services. To achieve this goal, the Montana PDP has two
    main educational priorities: 1) Collaborate in generation and distribution of knowledge related to sustainable agricultural production, and 2) Offer training and educational opportunities to
    enhance the adoption of sustainable practices.
    c) Stakeholder and partner involvement. The Montana Western SARE PDP works in association
    with a stakeholder advisory committee to plan sustainable agriculture activities and to reviewers
    of mini-grant or travel scholarship applications. The advisory committee is composed by Brad
    Bauer. Gallatin County Extension Agent, Jane Mangold -MSU Rangeland Invasive Plant
    Specialist, Fabian Menalled-MSU Cropland Weed Specialist, Montana WSARE PDP
    coordinator. We also meet twice a year and discuss research and education priorities with the
    Montana Organic Advisory and Education Council (OEAC, http://www.oaecmt.org/ourmission.
    html). The advisory board establishes the project priorities and reviews proposals and
    travel scholarship applications.

    Project objectives:

    Objective 1. Provide teaching and learning opportunities to enhance Montana agricultural
    professionals’ knowledge on sustainable agriculture through mini-grants. The Montana
    Western SARE-PDP will allocate $15,000 to support demonstrations projects, workshops, and farm
    tours in sustainable agriculture through competitive-mini grants program.

    Objective 2. Offer travel scholarships to regional and national conferences/workshops related
    to sustainable agriculture. The Montana Western SARE-PDP will allocate $1,062 for scholarships to
    Extension personnel to participate at regional or national meetings on sustainable agriculture.

    Objective 3. Promote awareness of sustainable agriculture. To enhance the involvement of
    agricultural professional we will distribute materials and promote activities on sustainable
    agriculture.

    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.