Dairy Focus Groups: Manure Management & Regulation Updates

Name and Position Titles
Chris Mondak, Dairy Field Specialist; and Angie Rieck-Hinz, Program Specialist

Date Submitted:
April 19, 2011

POW Number & Title:
115 -Environmental Management

Fiscal Year:

Title of Success Story:
Dairy Focus Groups:  Manure Management & Regulation Updates

The Situation and Response:
Encouraging environmental stewardship, including good manure management, is a long-standing priority of the ISU Extension Dairy Team.   Given recent changes in Iowa’s manure regulations, and given EPA’s increased concern to decrease discharge from all farms, including small and medium-sized farms, ISU Extension staff made it a priority to offer  educational meetings during the winter season to increase knowledge about current regulations and manure management practices.

To reach dairy producers in the 20-county NW Iowa region, Extension specialists coordinated four meetings throughout the region to reach the  target audience of dairy owners with herd size below 700 cows.

These were the teaching objectives to be accomplished through combination of lecture, small group discussion, demonstration, and practice activities:

Initial results:
Sixty-seven dairy owners of small/medium-sized farms attended 1 of 4 available a dairy manure management meetings. This number represents approximately 39% of the intended target audience.    The lecture segment stimulated good questions and discussion, and the segment that demonstrated the on-line file of farm aerial photographs/satellite images stimulated active participation, questions, and problem-solving discussion.

To gauge immediate achievement of objectives, participants were asked to complete a short written pre-post quiz.  They were asked to rate their perceived knowledge level pre-session and immediately post-session with these four questions:

                                 1                                                      2                                                      3
                             Low                                              Moderate                                             Good

                                1                                                    2                                                            3
                       Uncertain                                      Slightly unclear                        Good understanding

                              1                                                    2                                                              3
                   Uncertain                                    Slightly unclear                                   Good understanding

 4. My understanding  level of current rules about winter time manure application and who they apply to is:
                              1                                                  2                                                                 3
                 Very uncertain                           Slightly unclear                                   Good understanding

Forty-seven of the 67 attendees completed the pre-post quiz, and most quiz forms indicated an a perceived increase in knowledge or understanding at the end of the meeting compared on how they rated their levels at the start of the session:




Stayed the same


34=  72%


12 = 25%


39= 83%


7   = 15%


38=  81%


6   = 13%


35= 74%


13  = 28%

To the open-ended question offered at the end of the Post-quiz form, (“From what I heard today, I plan to look at making changes in my manure management or run-off management practices such as”):  these additional comments were gathered:

A   follow-up survey is planned for late summer to identify degree of actual management changes.


Last updated: July 19, 2011
Page maintained by Julie Honeick, jhoneick@iastate.edu