SARE Professional Development Program Annual Report for Utah
January 1-December 31, 2012
State SARE Coordinator:
Summary of 2012 PDP Activities and Results
In 2012 Utah’s sustainable agriculture professional development encompassed many educational events which included sustainable biomass production, sustainable range management, soils, Extension County agent training, IPM and more. Mini-grants co-sponsored by the Western SARE Utah Professional Development Program and the Utah Integrated Pest Management Center went to three Extension professionals and USDA-ARS-Forage and Range Research Lab. In total 1,059 participants received training as a result of these efforts. An estimate of the contacts of these participants in the next year (2014) is 31,619.
Context and Overview
Utah State University and the Western SARE Professional Development Program provide excellent opportunities for in-service training in sustainable agricultural topics to extension educators and other agricultural/natural resource professionals. In order to provide “research-based” information to the general public, our agricultural professionals must have the opportunity to be exposed to the newest techniques and information available on a wide variety of sustainable subject areas. Over the years we have formed partnerships with many non-extension agricultural professionals: NRCS, Conservation Districts, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food and other state and federal agricultural/natural resource professionals. These partnerships allow numerous agricultural professionals to enhance their learning and skill set by interacting with sustainable agricultural systems. By educating these agricultural professionals it is hoped that they will utilize their new skills and knowledge, within their agencies programs, to better assist their respective producers’ so we can all continue to move forward in our journey to sustainability.
Activities and Methods
These include formal professional development sessions (workshops, meetings, conferences, research reviews and field days), travel scholarships and mini-grant funded activities.
- 1. Specific Sustainable Agricultural Training
- Sustainable Range Workshops
- Grant reviewing
- Field days and conferences
- Presentations of professional development training results at Conferences/Workshops/In-service trainings
- 2. Competitive mini-grant program in conjunction with USU IPM Center
- ‘Control of Buckhorn Plantain in Pastures, Forages, and Waste Areas in Wasatch County’ 2nd year
- ‘Involving Local FFA Members in Monitoring, Collecting, and Distributing Biological Control Agents in Leafy Spurge, poison Hemlock and Knapweeds’, 2nd year
- ‘Range Restoration’, 2nd year
- ‘Swaner Preserve and USU Extension Goat Grazing’
PDP-funded Publications/Educational Materials and Products
Changes in Ag Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills and Action
The survey instrument used is listed below. It is designed to assist in measuring short- and medium-range impacts of our yearly professional development program efforts. All 2012 participants were given the survey instrument.
(1) Acquisition of new knowledge and development of skills (everyone)
Questions 2 and 3 of the questionnaire specifically ask about these impacts. From the results of the survey, 94.5 percent responded that they had acquired new knowledge and 84.5 percent reported gaining new skills.
(2) Change in attitudes or understanding (agricultural professional’s awareness)
Questions 1 and 4 of the questionnaire addressed these impacts. For 2012, 98.3 percent improved awareness of the topics addressed in the trainings. A modified opinion and/or attitude change was reported by 89.1 percent of survey respondents.
|2012 Professional Development Program - Utah|
|Q1||Improve my awareness of the topics covered||98.3||1.7||0|
|Q2||Gave me new knowledge||94.5||5.5||0|
|Q3||Assisted me in gaining new skills||84.5||12.7||2.8|
|Q4||Modified my opinions and/or attitudes||89.1||8.2||2.7|
|Q5||Will improve advise I give to others||78.1||2.7||19.2|
|In the next year I am likely to use some aspect of this activity||%|
|Q6||In my farm/home operation||27.4||2.1||70.5|
|Q7||In an educational program that I plan/participate in||53.3||13.4||33.3|
|Q8||As a resource I will make available to producers||57.3||5.1||37.6|
|Q8||As a professional development tool for my peers||35.2||12.9||51.9|
|Q10||How many people do you estimate sharing some aspect of this training within the next year?|
|Total # of participants in PDP events||1,059|
|Number of participant surveys returned||675||63.70%|
(3) Change in behavior and action (agricultural professional’s awareness)
Questions 5 thru 9 of the survey reflect willingness to change and possible action. The action and behavior change here is reflected in assisting producers and other professionals with some aspect given from their training. In improving advice to producers, 78.1 percent showed a positive response. Questions 7-9 of the survey specifically ask about using some aspect of the training in an educational endeavor. As some of the surveyed participants in this year’s trainings do not specifically have educational trainings as part of their job descriptions, I would not expect to have as high of percentages from respondents. However, the data suggest a very high proportion will use their training in some training they will participate in or plan. In Question 10 of the questionnaire, how many estimated people will receive some aspect of their training during the next 12 months, 31,619 were given in their responses. Although only an estimate, it does provide a possible quantitative measurement of the potential impact of the programs.
We continue to see new faces at these professional development events. However no concerted effort is utilized to describe these types of outcomes. We will continue to strive to increase total number of completed surveys from participants. We continue to have producers attend these trainings, although not the primary targeted audience. Many of our agriculture and natural resource professionals are also producers, but we make no effort to separate full-time producers from other types of producers, hence why we have Question 6.
Involvement of Others in State PDP Planning and Implementation
Utah’s Professional Development Program Advisory Committee:
USDA-ARS-Forage & Range Research Lab.
Utah Association of Conservation Districts
Utah Dept. of Agriculture and Food
USU Cooperative Extension Service
Utah Conservation Commission
USU Agricultural Experiment Station
The members of the PDP Advisory Committee are contacted several times a year but not collectively at one meeting. The transportation and travel costs have been minimized by meeting when these groups have scheduled events, or by my visiting them in conjunction with my extension, experiment station or Western SARE duties. For the year 2012 these committee members continued to request trainings or professional development opportunities with the sustainable agriculture mini-grant program and to have funds available for special requests (such as to attend conferences, workshops and other agency sponsored events/trainings).
Materials from specific IPM/SA mini-grants, websites:
- http://extension.usu.edu/cooperative/ipm/index.cfm/cid.648/ Look under the right box titled Grants 2012 section (Utah IPM & SA Mini-Grant Program)
- Buckhorn Plantain (Revised February 2012)
- Controlling Curly Top of Tomatoes using Resistant Varieties and Row Covers
- Utah Biomass Field Day video