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  • BEHAVE Facilitators’ Network
    animals and economic viability of agricultural enterprises Searching for a Solution Voth and her team aimed to develop a network of individuals Trained in behavioral principles Ready and able to teach others Capable of helping producers implement behavioral solutions to problems At the time of the project s implementation extension personnel in 10 Western states had agreed to be part of this training and to serve as their state s coordinator Several ranchers also agreed to work with the training network by providing sites where behavioral techniques have been employed to solve management issues The goal was that each State Coordinator would train at least 10 facilitators in their home states who would then train others In addition the network would work with producers and agency staff by sharing information materials and practical strategies to successfully implement new livestock management methods Handbooks videos CDs and a website were to be developed and the team was to ensure the use of training strategies suitable for adult learners including workshops and problem solving field tours What was Accomplished Voth and her team trained 10 state coordinators and 135 facilitators in behavioral principles Workshops were held in Arizona California Colorado Idaho Montana Nevada Oregon Utah Washington and Wyoming Prior to the formation of the BEHAVE Facilitator s Network many of the workshop participants had not been aware of animal behavior research being conducted at Utah State University and other universities After their attendance participants reported a greater understanding of the information provided According to surveys conducted at the end of many workshops workshop participants rated their understanding of the information presented as 2 56 on a scale of 3 with 3 meaning I understand completely and 2 meaning I can review the guide to understand Many reported feeling confident to put on their own workshops about behavior In addition they left with support materials to learn more and were provided materials to distribute at their own workshops The BEHAVE Facilitator Handbook was created in 2006 The notebook includes 1 a description of the BEHAVE Facilitators Network 2 tips and hints for successful presentations and workshops 3 information about learning styles and adoption of new information 4 copies of PowerPoint slides 5 many fact sheets 6 examples of applying behavior principles in livestock and wildlife management and 7 step by step instructions for training animals for demonstrations It also includes 3 CDs and 4 DVDs CDs include 1 9 annotated slide shows that overview the principles of behavior 2 an online course about behavior 3 a video CD designed for producers entitled Using livestock behavior on your operation DVDs include 1 Foraging behavior 2 Turning cows into weed managers 3 video clips of animals demonstrating behavior principles and 4 interviews with producers The materials also include the book Foraging Behavior Managing to Survive in a World of Change A website was also created Impacts Forty additional handbooks were distributed to educators Nevada and Utah educators incorporated a presentation about behavioral principles into the Nevada

    Original URL path: http://www.westernsare.org/Learning-Center/From-the-Field/BEHAVE-Facilitators-Network (2016-05-01)
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  • Behind Regional Distribution Success
    helping regional farmers garner millions of dollars in sales for their organic crops They do this by pursuing a simple marketing strategy maintaining the farm label along the value chain allowing consumers to know exactly where their produce comes from as it makes its way from field to kitchen The strategy has worked Veritable Vegetable has recently enjoyed massive growth in sales a 46 percent increase from 2004 to 2009 when annual sales reached 38 million And many of the retail partners it sells to are also thriving We are making money even during this bad economy says a manager at Sacramento Natural Foods Co op which buys much of its produce from Veritable Vegetable We are getting more people coming in because in this economy people want to keep local business supported Regionally based supply chains which link farmers to nearby consumers businesses and institutions often through distributors are growing in popularity around the country and are driven by strong consumer demand But not all are successful The lesson to be learned from the Veritable Vegetable example says Gail Feenstra a food systems analyst at the University of California Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute is that consumers do not want food that is merely local they want food with a story Marketing counts Feenstra and consultant David Visher supported by grants from SARE and other programs of USDA s National Institute of Food and Agriculture NIFA studied five values based supply chains in California including Veritable Vegetable and Sacramento Natural Foods Co op to identify the challenges and opportunities associated with local food distribution and share findings with people thinking of starting such an operation Western SARE awarded Feenstra s 2010 grant in response to a special listening session it conducted in California during which a diverse range of stakeholders said more research was needed on these alternative distribution channels Her work revealed many findings that illuminated winning and losing strategies for all the players involved For example along with marketing savvy a deep understanding of the produce distribution industry is crucial for people embarking on this distribution model Margins are so thin and price information so ubiquitous that in many cases business acumen is crucial to success Feenstra and Visher say As a result they found that nonprofits can easily struggle to support these supply chains compared with private businesses largely because nonprofits often have less industry experience Also a farmer who wants financing to start a new distribution strategy will likely find obstacles at the bank because traditional financers are not familiar with alternative distribution methods Farmers can t get loans to try new distribution strategies for example if they want to try a branding strategy or join an aggregation system which might be a little riskier than going to your conventional wholesaler Feenstra says That is what leads Feenstra and her UC Davis colleague Shermain Hardesty to the next phase of their research learning more about the external participants in a values based supply chain including financers

    Original URL path: http://www.westernsare.org/Learning-Center/From-the-Field/Behind-Regional-Distribution-Success (2016-05-01)
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  • Building Tools and Technical Capacity to Improve Irrigation and Nutrient Management on California's Central Coast
    is Sustainable Agriculture Historical Timeline Vision and Mission Home Learning Center From the Field Building Tools and Technical Capacity to Improve Irrigation and Nutrient Management Building Tools and Technical Capacity to Improve Irrigation and Nutrient Management on California s Central Coast Looking for something different Search the Learning Center Back to Search Results Building Tools and Technical Capacity to Improve Irrigation and Nutrient Management on California s Central Coast The Challenge Growers on the Central Coast of California face rising costs and increasing regulatory scrutiny due to implementation of Total Maximum Daily Load TMDL a regulatory term describing a value of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can receive while still meeting water quality standards Thus many growers are seeking more sustainable and cost effective irrigation and nutrient management strategies The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board determined that more than any other management practice the wide scale adoption of proper irrigation and nutrient management practices stands the greatest chance of ameliorating high nutrient concentrations reducing toxicity and reducing overdraft and subsequent seawater intrusion Pamela Krone Davis Agricultural Water Quality Coordinator for the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Foundation noted that this had led to demand for technical assistance for implementation of irrigation and nutrient best management practices in Central Coast watersheds With project partners it was determined that a cross training program was needed to address the critical need for agricultural and resource conservation professionals across California s Central Coast to coordinate and build technical capacity to ensure delivery of the most up to date comprehensive and consistent information in a timely and relevant manner Searching for a Solution To meet this need Krone Davis developed the Professional Development Program project Building Tools and Technical Capacity to Improve Irrigation and Nutrient Management on California s Central Coast with the objectives Improve access to Irrigation and Nutrient Management INM tools by developing an online clearinghouse of INM tools and resources Improve consistency of INM services available to growers across the region by developing a standardized set of metrics measurement tools and operating procedures Increase INM Professional technical capacity to serve growers through in field cross trainings and distribution of materials According to Krone Davis the project team brought together an expert advisory panel to provide guidance and to compile tools on INM from numerous sources Tools and procedures were posted online and organized in a common sense structure to make navigating the extensive material easier Technical personnel were trained on the basic INM tools and suite of standard procedures through hands on workshops Outcomes All materials were uploaded to a website and Central Coast INM professionals have access to all of the tools and standard operating procedures posted Krone Davis states Three months subsequent to the training all respondents reported they could personally provide technical services in irrigation distribution uniformity evaluations irrigation scheduling and nutrient management or could provide a competent local technical referral for these services Want more information See the related SARE grant s

    Original URL path: http://www.westernsare.org/Learning-Center/From-the-Field/Building-Tools-and-Technical-Capacity-to-Improve-Irrigation-and-Nutrient-Management-on-California-s-Central-Coast (2016-05-01)
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  • Camelina's Potential in the High Plains
    personal energy independence and cleaner energy and therefore considering oilseed crops as a both a source of biodiesel and feed Camelina has potential as a biofuel crop for High Plains producers with its relatively high oil content and possible adaptability to the region s semi arid growing conditions The biofuel industry has a limited supply and will need to be ramped up in order to meet increased demand In addition a biodiesel facility producing 1 million gallons of fuel per year is expected to generate 7 000 ton of meal and 100 tons of crude glycerin creating a need to market these co products Hess believed that the beef cattle feeding industry is a reasonable marketplace for camelina meal and crude glycerin because the meal is a good source of protein and the main compound in crude glycerin glycerol has an energy value similar to starch For this project Hess and his colleagues evaluated Field production of camelina in Montana and Wyoming Camelina oil for production of biodiesel Camelina co products in diets of developing replacement beef heifers The ecological impact and economic potential of replacing camelina for fallow utilizing camelina as a feedstock for biodiesel and including camelina co products in diets of developing replacement beef heifers This was accomplished through field trials crop rotation studies tests of camelina oil extracted from seeds grown in Wyoming and then used in equipment a two year randomized complete block study to evaluate the use of camelina co products in diets of developing replacement beef heifers a systems approach to try to understand how a biodiesel production scheme would fit into a dryland wheat farm using budget software and an additional economical analysis using prices actually paid for supplemental ingredients in the beef heifer feeding experiment Hess found that camelina co products were suitable replacements for conventional corn soybean meal supplements for developing replacement beef heifers Results compiled by project agronomists demonstrated that camelina is a marginal dryland crop for eastern Wyoming both in terms of yield and economic feasibility In contrast the Montana location appeared to be a more suitable place to grow camelina because dryland yields were great enough to make growing the crop economically feasible The co products should be economically feasible supplemental ingredients for replacement heifers With the reduction in fuel prices Hess and colleague Tom Foulke found that the economic arguments were not compelling at this time They predict a break even point in the alternative system when petroleum diesel reaches approximately 5 92 per gallon Should the price of petroleum diesel increase significantly it is reasonable to expect that the cost of other inputs especially fertilizer would increase as well making profitability for this system a moving target Economic challenges include the small size of the press and the high amount of labor and time needed to run the press In addition farm bankers have stated that they would have challenges in financing such a press under traditional means so sufficient funds need to be on

    Original URL path: http://www.westernsare.org/Learning-Center/From-the-Field/Camelina-s-Potential-in-the-High-Plains (2016-05-01)
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  • Compost Training for Ag Professionals
    one that has potential to serve a variety of needs including waste reduction and diversion soil enhancement renewable sources of organic fertility water conservation and carbon sequestration In spite of interest in composting over the past decade the Center for Sustainability saw significant untapped promise for agriculture to play a role in appropriate conversion of organic matter Furthermore questions remain These include questions on 1 processes involved in the composting method including technical and engineering aspects 2 the microbiology involved in composting including the role compost can play in soil and plant health 3 analysis and evaluation of compost including testing for pathogens and 4 the economics of composting including the successful marketing of end product In 2011 Francis and the Center for Sustainability received funding from Western SARE to establish the Cal Poly Compost Project and to conduct a comprehensive professional training in large scale composting together with the Maine Compost School With this funding the Center for Sustainability developed a successful training program integrating the award winning Maine curriculum with Cal Poly s range of expertise and resources and established a number of collaborative partnerships that has resulted in research and educational programs within the Cal Poly Compost Project that surpass the scope of the grant The purpose of the week long Compost Training was to help producers in California find answers to the above questions help them assess whether composting or use of compost is right for them and if so help them incorporate composting or use of compost into their overall business model The project team s secondary objective was to improve the coordination of scholarly and research activities on campus which relate to composting They formed a compost consortium comprised of faculty and staff with expertise in soil science waste management agricultural engineering resources management and farm operations to develop teaching modules for the Compost Training and to form the Cal Poly Compost Project The Cal Poly Compost Project has facilitated a number of collaborations and partnerships that have galvanized the initiation of compost related projects at Cal Poly The five day Compost Training was held at the Cal Poly campus from April 23 27 2012 for twenty seven registrants plus participating faculty and staff Three Maine Compost School instructors presented their curriculum with a combination of classroom instruction laboratory experience and hands on project exercises utilizing the Cal Poly Compost Unit for many of their demonstrations Topics covered during their classroom instruction included the biology of compost feedstocks site selection and management composting equipment compost utilization and marketing strategies Indoor and outdoor exercises focused on site development pile management troubleshooting recipe development and testing for quality maturity and stability The compost consortium assisted with development of supplemental presentations and tour agenda A day long south coast field trip took place on April 25 The tour highlighted four local businesses incorporating innovative composting and waste management strategies into their business model Each workshop attendee received a binder including the course syllabus and all presentation slides

    Original URL path: http://www.westernsare.org/Learning-Center/From-the-Field/Compost-Training-for-Ag-Professionals (2016-05-01)
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  • Confirmation of Riparian Friendly Grazing Project Results and Development of Achievable, Site Specific Reference Conditions for Grazed Riparian Areas
    provided strong statistical evidence that common grazing management practices such as herding and attracting livestock away from riparian areas are positively associated with improved riparian and stream health The key result was that the amount of effort or implementation of a practice e g number of days each grazing season spent herding livestock away from the stream was consistently positively associated with improved riparian health This project was developed to confirm these results selecting aquatic insects as the measurement of riparian health and to determine realistic site specific expectations for rangeland riparian health The project team asserts that creating sustainable riparian grazing management is impossible without a clear and attainable target In the team s opinion defining sustainable riparian grazing was dependent upon 1 working directly with grazing managers to identify grazing practices which maintain riparian health yet are logistically and economically feasible and 2 conducting research at the ranch and grazing allotment scale to ensure the results are relevant at the management scale Their goal was to identify grazing management to enhance riparian health on meadow streams The objectives were to Confirm the potential for site specific grazing management practices to enhance important riparian health metrics clearly documenting the potential for sustainable riparian grazing Develop a protocol to establish achievable site specific expectations for riparian health which provides grazing managers with riparian health targets Extend the riparian grazing management recommendations developed from this work to private and public land grazing managers as well as to regulatory and natural resources agencies Thirty five ranchers and numerous agencies participated in the project to survey grazing management and aquatic insects across California grazed and non grazed meadow streams The study represents about 1 million acres of mountain grazing land and approximately 11 000 head of range beef cattle What was Accomplished The team declares that the primary recommendation from this project is that enhanced riparian health in grazed systems can be achieved by traditional livestock management practices particularly livestock distribution efforts Results from the project clearly show that common grazing management tools can be put into practice that will improve and maintain riparian health As Tate writes these results provide a unique verification that negative impacts can be overcome with technically simple low infrastructure dependent techniques Most important is that the rancher or land manager exerts consistent adequate effort to control the timing and intensity of livestock use on meadow associated stream reaches The significance of the cooperation between managers and applied scientists to conduct research at the management scale was also demonstrated via this project Impacts The team was able to develop similar projects examining relationships between livestock grazing and the endangered Yosemite Toad A rancher can easily translate the recommendations into direct and indirect costs Producer involvement and support was stellar providing credibility to the project in the industry The project allowed for valuable and informal two way education opportunities and interaction between producers UCCE USFS BLM NRCS and other staff Project results have a direct application to the 40

    Original URL path: http://www.westernsare.org/Learning-Center/From-the-Field/Confirmation-of-Riparian-Friendly-Grazing-Project-Results-and-Development-of-Achievable-Site-Specific-Reference-Conditions-for-Grazed-Riparian-Areas (2016-05-01)
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  • Creating a Tribal Farm
    something different Search the Learning Center Back to Search Results Creating a Tribal Farm When Fara Ann Brummer of Warm Springs Oregon began her SARE funded project Cropland Planning Group her original intent was for the group to focus on one piece of tribal land and produce a well thought out plan as an exercise What happened in addition to this is that the group took on a life of its own through the middle phase of the project and gained immense tribal support to start a farm The participants of the group viewed the creation of a Tribal Farm as a natural outcome of the project and they founded the farm with support from Extension and their Tribal Council This Western SARE Professional Development Program PDP project coordinated the actions of five tribal members from land resource functions and four non tribal members from the tribal Natural Resource department Their planning efforts consisted of a review of the historic use of pieces of land a determination of the best value crops to be grown under existing irrigation and the creation of a farming schedule Brummer utilized Western SARE funding for such a group in order to develop a focused effort towards cropland re development on the Warm Spring Reservation as the land had been fallow for over 20 years assemble individuals with an interest and skills in farming to initiate one farming project and develop a workable plan for a farming season As the group chose their one piece of prime tribal farmland as their focus they heard five presentations by Oregon State University Extension specialists and industry representatives on crops that could potentially be grown at Warm Springs including hay canola specialty seed tree fruit and grapes The nine members who were later joined by three additional tribal members and two non tribal members also participated on field tours of hay and grapes Crop budgets were provided as a teaching resource With the crop education and budgeting resources as support the entire group presented their project summary to Tribal Council on May 26 2010 as a foundation for the start of a Tribal Farm operation The Tribal Council passed a resolution with no opposition to start the Tribal Farm operation under the Tribal branch of Natural Resources and also provided monetary support with their resolution A groundbreaking ceremony will occur in December after which the prime farmland will be prepared for seeding A hay crop is expected for harvest in 2012 Brummer says This project had the type of results that we enjoy seeing as Extension We provide the tools for learning and the constituents use the information and make their own decisions about their resources The tribal members involved in the Cropland Planning Group were the ones that initiated the Tribal Farm through their own decisions and actions Formal evaluations and observation by Brummer demonstrate that in addition to increasing crop planning skills and agriculture knowledge the participants developed facilitation and leadership skills all of which led

    Original URL path: http://www.westernsare.org/Learning-Center/From-the-Field/Creating-a-Tribal-Farm (2016-05-01)
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  • Curriculum Helps USDA Build Bridge to American Indians
    Curriculum Helps USDA Build Bridge to American Indians In the United States more than one in three farms benefits from a range of direct payments by the federal government according to USDA statistics But when it comes to farms operated by American Indians that figure plummets to nearly one in 10 Missing out on these programs including conservation programs disaster payments loan deficiency payments and others is one glaring example of how USDA professionals have long struggled to serve agricultural producers on American Indian reservations And it is one reason why University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Educators Loretta Singletary and Staci Emm used a SARE grant to develop a broad based curriculum that helps USDA service providers in four western states understand the unique needs and complexities of agriculture on reservations It was important to design an educational program for USDA professionals that explained the obstacles that present themselves when trying to implement a USDA program on Indian trust land Emm says Along with widely varied cultural traditions there can be entirely different systems of governance land ownership and resource management from one tribe to the next all of which makes administering a USDA loan grant or conservation program daunting Reception to the 178 page teaching guide called People of the Land has been so positive that USDA agencies and state departments of agriculture in all four states Idaho Nevada Oregon and Washington have begun adopting it and its authors have had to print a second run We ve stepped up our outreach efforts with tribes immensely says Clint Koble director of the USDA Farm Service Agency in Nevada We ve made a much more conscientious effort in the last year than we have in a long time A lot of that starts with People of the Land which cleared up a lot of misconceptions Particularly helpful for Koble and his staff of 27 all of whom have received training with People of the Land is the section that explains how hundred year old federal policies have created huge land tenure problems for example where a parcel of land given to an individual in the 19th century might have dozens of owners today That really provides a tremendous challenge to American Indians who want to get financing because the complexities of tribal land ownership can cloud collateral issues says Koble whose agency provides a variety of loans To develop the curriculum Emm and Singletary started by assessing the agricultural needs of American Indians on the 10 largest reservations in their four state region and by speaking with the agricultural professionals who serve them Further underscoring the importance of People of the Land Emm and Singletary received a second SARE grant in 2011 to adapt the curriculum to the Navajo and Hopi reservations Their work also earned them the 2011 National Extension Diversity Award given to one recipient annually by USDA s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities Want more information See

    Original URL path: http://www.westernsare.org/Learning-Center/From-the-Field/Curriculum-Helps-USDA-Build-Bridge-to-American-Indians (2016-05-01)
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