Partnerships in the Manure Nutrient Management Field

Proceedings Home W2W Homew2w17 logo


Responsible manure nutrient management improves environmental quality while maintaining agricultural productivity. Multiple organizations and individuals play a part in improving the understanding and practice of responsible management. But how does manure nutrient management information flow? The “Pathways” project’s goals were to understand and delineate pathways for effective information dissemination and use among various agricultural professional audiences that facilitate successful integrated (research/outreach/education) projects and programs. This presentation examines the relevance of partnerships within the manure nutrient management network and barriers to these partnerships.

What did we do?

We disseminated the “Pathways” survey online utilizing the mailing lists of several professional and producer organizations and listservs associated with manure management. There were 964 surveys started and 608 completed. The six types of organizations with more than 10% of the total survey population’s responses were university/Extension; government non-regulatory agencies; government regulatory agencies; producers; special government agencies; and sale or private enterprises.

The South Dakota State University Institutional Review Board deemed the survey exempt under federal regulation 45 CFR 46.101 (b) (IRB-1402010-EXM and IRB-1502001-EXM).

What have we learned?

The survey posed “How important is collaboration with each of the following groups related to manure nutrient management?” Figure 1 shows the mean relevance among all survey participants, evaluated on a scale of 1 (Not important/somewhat unimportant) to 4 (Highly important). On average, all potential partner groups were recognized as important (>2). Partnerships with producers were deemed most important (3.68) by all survey respondents.

After assessing relevance, we asked survey participants to indicate what barriers, if any, deter them from collaboration with each of the following groups related to manure nutrient management (select all that apply). For all potential partners listed, with the exception of tribal governments, “No Barriers to Use” was the most selected option. “Do Not Have a Relationship” was a common and stronger barrier for commodity, sales and service partners, compared to government agencies, for example.

The barriers “Discouraged or Not Allowed” and “No Incentive to Collaborate” were relatively small selections. The barrier “Do Not Have a Relationship” is possible to overcome at both individual and organizational levels, where needed.

Figure 1. The average relevance and the distribution of barriers to collaborating or partnering with the types of organizations specified, for purposes of manure nutrient management

Future Plans

In the future, assessing the reasons for specific partnerships can further aid improving communication and collaboration in the manure nutrient management network.

Corresponding author, title, and affiliation

Erin Cortus, Associate Professor and Environmental Quality Specialist at South Dakota State University

Corresponding author email

Additional information


The Pathways Project greatly appreciates the support of the North Central Region Water Network Seed Grant, South Dakota Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, and the collaborative groups of educators, researchers and agency personnel, for improving and advocating the survey.

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2017. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Cary, NC. April 18-21, 2017. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.