A new project is being launched by Michigan State University to focus on providing outreach and training for agricultural professionals using online conservation tools.
Erica Rogers and Sarah Fronczak, environmental educators with MSU, have been selected to receive a grant from the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) for the project, which is called Training Agricultural Professionals on Innovative Online Tools for Conservation Planning and Implementation.
The project will use three online tools that contribute to the stewardship of Michigan’s land and water resources, while enhancing quality of life for producers.
A suite of support tools that facilitate conservation planning and implementation activities include:
- The Sensitive Areas Identification System
- Michigan EnviroImpact
- Computer-Assisted Nutrient Management Planning Program
These tools are designed to help farmers identify resource concerns on their farms, prioritize specific conservation treatments, plan for nutrient applications using real-time weather data, and keep better records of nutrient applications.
The team will be rolling out four training sessions across Michigan in 2020. Video trainings also will be recorded for availability online. Keep a look out for more information at canr.msu.edu/outreach/events.
The project has been named as the 2019 Paula Ford Professional Development Program Proposal of the Year. This grant was awarded as part of NCR-SARE's Professional Development Program, which emphasizes training agricultural educators in Extension, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, private and nonprofit sectors, using farmers as educators and addressing emerging issues in the farm community. NCR-SARE's Administrative Council members decide which projects will receive SARE funds.
The AC, a collection of farm and nonfarm citizens, includes a diverse mix of agricultural stakeholders in the region. Council members hail from regional farms and ranches, the Cooperative Extension Service, universities, federal agencies and nonprofit organizations.