Sturgul is the outreach program manager for the Nutrient and Pest Management program (NPM), working to bring research-based information regarding farm profits, water quality, pest management, pesticide use practices, and nutrient management planning to Wisconsin farmers and landowners.
Improving nutrient management practices on Wisconsin dairy farms has significant potential for improving farm profitability and protecting water quality. This project seeks to create a digital and interactive nutrient management planning workbook that trains dairy farmers to develop functional nutrient management plans. In 2020, a combination of challenges including COVID-19 restrictions, reduced staff, and budget reductions created an incentive to investigate other, less personnel-dependent, mechanisms for delivering the Wisconsin Nutrient Management Farmer Education curriculum. This project will expedite the development and release of this new approach to nutrient management planning. The remote method will eliminate or greatly reduce the need for physically close instructor-student contact, allow for self-pace and self-instruction, and hopefully increase the number of Wisconsin farmers implementing nutrient management. Damon Smith is collaborating on this research. This project aligns with Dairy Task Force 2.0 Recommendation #47 (‘Need for regulatory certainty and consistency’).