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  • Author or Editor: Heather D. Karsten x
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Organic growers have indicated a need for help with the challenge of nutrient management. To address this challenge, an intensive training program for agricultural educators was convened to study this issue. Through the program, existing soil and compost analysis recommendations were modified to make them more relevant for organic growers; computer-based whole farm nutrient planning tools were evaluated using situations common to organic farms; and educational materials on using organic nutrient sources were developed for grower audiences. Educational workshops, presentations, and farm visits reached 714 growers and publications reached over 2575 people. Survey respondents of the intensive training program rated their ability to help organic growers with nutrient management as 3.50 before and 5.50 (7-point scale, with 7 = excellent) after the sessions. About 1 year later, all survey respondents rated their ability to help growers using organic nutrient sources as excellent or above average. Grower knowledge of using organic nutrient sources improved to 5.92 from 3.92 as a result of a workshop and to 5.62 from 3.89 (7-point scale, with 7 = excellent) after a 1-day class developed by intensive training participants. Methodology used allowed for expansion of individual and collective knowledge of a complicated topic and development of high impact, relevant, and effective educational programming for clientele.

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