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Livestock on Small Acreages: Protecting Water Resources and Health, A Train-the-Trainer Extension Education Program

Investigators
McCann, Alyson
Institutions
University of Rhode Island
Start date
2006
End date
2010
Objective
  1. Identify barriers and benefits to adoption of livestock management practices for water quality protection.
  2. Design an adoption-outreach Extension education program that minimizes the barriers and maximizes the benefits to adoption of BMPS for water quality protection.
  3. Determine the effectiveness of the train-the-trainer model to influence behavior norms of livestock management practices among the target audience.
  4. Recruit and train 20 volunteers by the end of year two.
  5. 95% of trained volunteers and the target audience will indicate an increased awareness and knowledge of hydrology, the water cycle and the interaction between watersheds and aquifers by the end of year three.
  6. 95% of trained volunteers and the target audience will indicate an increased awareness and knowledge of pollution and health risks associated with small acreage livestock activities by the end of year three.
  7. 90% of trained volunteers and the target audience will be capable of identifying the most common pollution and health risks associated with livestock activities on their properties by the end of year three.
  8. 90% of trained volunteers and the target audience will be capable of identifying appropriate BMPs to minimize pollution and health risks associated with small acreage livestock activities.
  9. 90% of trained volunteers and the target audience will consider adopting at least one BMP for water resource protection by the end of year three.
  10. 50% of trained volunteers and the target audience will adopt at least 1 BMP by the end of year 3.
  11. 80% of trained volunteers (10 teams of 2 volunteers per team) will provide a minimum of 20 hours of direct educational programming to their club members, families and other affiliated organizations by the end of year three.
  12. 75% of trained volunteers will indicate that they intend to provide at least 10 hours of education and outreach programming to their clubs and other affiliated organizations for an additional 2 years beyond the end of the project.
  13. 90% of trained volunteers will increase their public presentation skills and express increased confidence in their abilities to teach in a small group environment by the end of year three.
More information
Non-Technical Summary: Many small acreage livestock owners live within or close to high density residential areas. Many of these residential properties usually consist of smaller lots which can be in close proximity to water resources such as ponds, streams, drinking water wells, storm drains and ditches. The amount of land per animal unit in these situations is typically very small, resulting in problems with manure storage, handling, and utilization. As with human and pet waste, livestock manure contains nutrients and pathogens. When improperly managed, livestock properties have the potential to contribute excess nutrients, bacteria and other pathogens, organic matter, sediments and odorous compounds to the environment. These pollutants can cause degradation of surface and ground water quality. The University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension Water Quality and 4-H Programs will generate and deliver an adoption-outreach Extension Education Program focused on pollution prevention BMPs for small acreage livestock owners and managers. This work will primarily target landowners and residents, including 4-H animal science club leaders, members and their parents, living on parcels of approximately 10 acres or less. These individuals usually 'slip through the cracks', are often ineligible for traditional agricultural assistance programs, and the issues and concerns that shape this group of landowners' and residents' behaviors and decisions are often significantly different from those of commercial farmers.

Approach: The following steps provide the necessary framework and articulate the techniques that have been chosen to effectively achieve adoption of BMPs by the target audiences and to transfer appropriate agricultural BMPs for the protection of water quality to small acreage livestock owners on the urban rural fringe. 1. Convene Project Steering Committee; Year 1. The steering committee members will meet twice each year and communicate as needed via phone and email with project staff. 2. Conduct needs assessment of target audience; Year 1. In year one of the project, we will conduct a needs assessment that will serve to identify the barriers and benefits to adoption of BMPs by our target audience, including the pool of 4H volunteers interested in being trained in this adoption outreach education program. We will utilize focus groups and mail surveys as the two evaluation tools to conduct the needs assessment. 3. Pilot existing small acreage livestock fact sheet and self assessment worksheet series with first year URI animal science students; Year 1. The existing small acreage livestock fact sheet and self assessment worksheet series entitled Livestock on Small Acreages: Protecting Water Resources and Health will be assigned to approximately 40 first year students majoring in Animal Science, as part of their coursework. This will provide project staff with an initial indication of the fact sheet and self assessment series effectiveness and ease in readability and use. 4. Develop, refine, and deliver a pilot training program for 4H volunteers and other affiliated organizations; End of Year 1 to Year 3. Based on the results of the needs assessment and pilot use of materials, we will develop an adoption-outreach Extension education program that utilizes preferred educational activities and methods to address the gaps in knowledge and barriers to adoption of BMPs, and, where possible, incorporates identified incentives to motivate individual behavior change. We will utilize a train the trainer approach, targeting and working with a selected group of at least 20 4-H volunteers to pilot test this methodology and materials. 5. Use on going evaluation plan and steering committee meetings to refine and enhance program; Year 1 to Year 3. 6. Finalize materials and educational resources; Year 3. During year three of the project, final revisions will be completed for both the fact sheet and self-assessment series as well as to the educational support materials. 7. Dissemination of results and materials to stakeholders and partners and via the Extension network; Year 1 to Year 3. Project staff will prepare bi annual progress reports that will be distributed to the project steering committee, posted on the website and modified for appropriate newsletters. In year 3 of the project, we will complete a 30 minute project educational video, which will be shown on cable Cox Educational Television Channel 15.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
RI002006-03932
Accession number
208000
Categories
Sanitation and Quality Standards
Education and Training