A Successful Model for Conservation Tillage Education for County Extension Agents.
R.Dewey Lee1, Julia Gaskin2, Glen Harris1, Gary Hawkins2, and Wayne Reeves3. (1) Dept. of Crop & Soil Science, Univ of Georgia, Tifton, GA 31793, (2) Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Athens, GA 30603, (3) USDA-ARS, Watkinsville, GA, Watkinsville, GA 30677
Increasing demands by growers for information and new technology in conservation tillage has placed increasing pressure on Georgia’s county Extension agent. Programmatic resources at the University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences have been severely strained by lack of funding and downsizing. Consequently, UGA-CAES created a multi-disciplinary conservation tillage educational task force to develop a comprehensive training program. The task force included experienced personnel from seven departments within CAES, USDA-NRCS, USDA-ARS and a producer organization. A needs assessment survey of 106 agricultural agents was conducted to determine specific needs, knowledge and attitudes towards conservation tillage (CT). The survey (90% response) indicated a positive attitude toward CT but a lack of understanding and knowledge of CT systems. Survey data was used to develop specific training sessions. Two two-day in-field and classroom training sessions were provided which included in-depth discussions, presentations, written materials, books, equipment demonstrations, and hands-on field demonstrations. Pre- and post-test were given to measure the effectiveness of each training session. Survey techniques, methods, results, training topics and method delivery, plus test results will be shared.