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

Andrango, Graciela C., Bergtold, Jason S., Archer, David, Flora, Cornelia
Open Agriculture 2016 v.1 no.1
Internet, agribusiness, bioenergy industry, biofuels, business enterprises, community education, educational status, extension agents, extension education, farmers, feedstocks, learning, markets, outreach, surveys, Western United States
A growing biofuels industry requires the devel- opment of effective methods to educate farmers, govern- ment, and agribusiness about biofuel feedstock produc- tion if the market is going to significantly expand beyond first generation biofuels. Extension and outreach educa- tion provides a conduit for important research, knowledge and information to be disseminated to producers and agri- business 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 exten- sion 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 pref- erence 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.