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ARS Home » Plains Area » Mandan, North Dakota » Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #301903

Research Project: Sustainable Agricultural Systems for the Northern Great Plains

Location: Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory

Title: Assessing extension and outreach education levels for biofuel feedstock production in the Western United States

Author
item Andrango, Graciela - Kansas State University
item Bergtold, Jason - Kansas State University
item Archer, David
item Flora, Cornelia - Kansas State University

Submitted to: Open Agriculture Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/25/2016
Publication Date: 5/13/2016
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/63065
Citation: Andrango, G.C., Bergtold, J., Archer, D.W., Flora, C. 2016. Assessing extension and outreach education levels for biofuel feedstock production in the Western United States. Open Agriculture Journal. 1:29-36.

Interpretive Summary: If the biofuel industry is to be successful, effective ways to educate farmers, government, and agribusiness about producing bioenergy crops is needed. Extension and outreach education are used to deliver research, knowledge, and information to producers and agribusiness. A survey of extension and outreach agents in 10 western states showed that they need additional training on bioenergy crop production, especially on economics and logistical aspects. In addition, extension and outreach agents preferred to use field days, seminars, face-to-face community education events, and the internet to deliver information. However, there were some differences for different regions and for different types of extension and outreach agents. This research helps advance the biofuel industry by identifying information gaps and effective methods to fill these gaps for bioenergy crop production.

Technical Abstract: A growing biofuels industry requires the development of effective methods to educate farmers, government, and agribusiness about biofuel feedstock production if the market is going to significantly expand beyond first generation biofuels. Extension and outreach education provides a conduit for important research, knowledge and information to be disseminated to producers and agribusiness that can utilize the information to help establish biofuel feedstock enterprises and markets. This paper presents the results of a survey administered to extension and outreach agents in 10 western states in the United States to assess the current state of knowledge of extension and outreach agents, their needs regarding feedstock production, and mechanisms used for outreach to their clientele. Results indicate that extension and outreach agents require additional training on biofuel feedstock production, especially economic and logistical aspects. In addition, extension and outreach agents showed a preference for learning using alternative methods, including field days, seminars, face-to-face, community education events, and the internet. Results differ by region and type of extension and outreach agent.