On Friday, I was privileged to the guest speaker at a local Agforce branch meeting. We discussed Youth to Agriculture, peculiar regulation regarding the movement of B-doubles (cattle trucks), and funding opportunities available in our part of the world. We talked about the difficulty Primary Producers often face in trying to understand the language of Natural Resource Management NRM funding applications and for that mattter beaucratic speak and Agricultural Science.
Alex O’Neill is an Agforce Stalwart and was also a guest speaker at the meeting. This is an eExtension effort by Agforce sharing a television travel show story featuring Alex.
A call to arms for better Extension.
Over the last 7 years, I have observed Natural Resource Management NRM investment becoming more and more precise, and in some cases less and less accessible to the those who most need to understand. Biophysical targeting of investment and greater emphasis on monitoring and evaluation have lead to phrases such as “rehabilitation of endangered species in high priority ecosystems”. Which might be comprehensible to an earth science professional who wrote it, but probably doesn’t mean a thing to the grazing family who do have a number of endangered species on their property which happens to be home to a number of priority ecosystems. My argument is not against funding based on triage, but a call to arms to improve engagement for NRM initiatives, Agricultural Science and Environmental knowledge.
Google Earth and a simple eExtension Solution.
Millions of internet users now know the virtues of Google Earth. It’s free, it’s simple to use, and it has applications for eExtension. Imagine a Natural Resource Management organisation, who with a carefully thought out eExtension Strategy, slowly but surely develops a rapport with landholders in their region. Imagine that they provide information about forthcoming funding opportunities in rich eExtension media, building excitement, interest and buzz as they go. Imagine they have a grown a database of landholders who have become accustomed to receiving really useful NRM information on a regular basis.
Imagine 2 days before their latest funding round is released, the said NRM group releases a tutorial for landholders showing them how to download and install Google Earth and how to download and integrate layers from KML files exported from the NRM group’s GIS system. Landholders can then view a Google Map of their property, with layers provided the NRM group.
How much simpler would the application process be if the NRM group and say “go to your Google Map turn on the XYZ layer, if you have any green shapes on your property, they are the areas that are our priority for investment, please apply. So much easier than project that enhance “endangered species in high priority ecosystems”, where the landholder needs expert advice to find out if they qualify.
What are you doing with eExtension tools?
eExtension is popping up everywhere, so are broadband connections, so are free applications that allow this kind of scenario to be left for dead. If an NRM organisation hasn’t do this already, someone soon will (make KML files available to allow landholders to understand funding priorities)!
This is really just a very simple, crudely explained idea, but I reckon anyone working in NRM with a couple of days work could make this happen. Who will be the first group to do it. The University of Nevada just picked up a USDA award for thier eExtension initiative. Who will be the next to raise the bar?
If you or your organisation are using eExtension in a highly innovative way, (or maybe even in a really simple way) we’ll all love to hear from you, please leave us a video or a comment below. Til next time keep dreaming of the possibilities for eExtension
Tags: eExtension, Google Earth, Extension Strategy, Innovative Extension