Selecting Preferred Land Application Sites: Extension Curricula for Interactive Land Application Education

preview of map in progress
The curricula contains a map where participants keep track of their progress visually as they work through the different activities.

An educational curricula was pilot tested in 2020 by Extension professionals in Nebraska and Minnesota. It utilizes a table-top sized map game board, six pre-planned scenarios, and interactive planning by small groups to select preferred manure application sites. The curricula addresses:

    • How far will I need to travel to manage manure nitrogen? Phosphorus?
    • Which fields benefit the most agronomically from manure?
    • How far can I afford to travel?
    • Which fields benefit most from manure’s soil health benefits?
    • What water quality risks are connected with individual fields?
    • How can I use a weather forecast to minimize neighbor’s odor risks?

These activities often lead to lots of peer-to-peer teaching. For example, we have witnessed discussions about minimizing compactions and planning to minimize impacts on community infrastructure and neighbors. As participants work through these discussions, they add their happy and sad face emojis to the map to weigh the benefits and concerns connected to individual fields.

Resources Available for Adapting to Your State

The curricula includes:

preview of factsheets and worksheets
Factsheets complement each activity’s main worksheet, helping the participants make their decision on which field is the best for manure application.
    • a 25-square mile map,
    • scenarios set up for six alternative animal feeding operations (you pick one for your group),
    • four alternative fields for land application with simplified information cards (soil tests, soil health tests, nutrient requirements, water quality risk indicators), and
    • worksheets and one-page information sheets for each of the six scenarios.

You may download electronic copies of all resources, adapt to your state, and begin sharing a highly interactive and peer-to-peer educational experience.

Downloadable Resources

Thank you for your interest in the curricula. Please fill out the following form to access the files:


Leslie Johnson, Rick Koelsch and Amy Schmidt

Online Bioenergy Training for Extension Educators

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The online Bioenergy Training Center provides educational training resources for Extension educators focused not only on the technical feasibility of bioenergy generation, but also on approaches and processes that assist communities in understanding the comprehensive implications of bio-based alternative energy. The intended outcome of the courses is to bring viable bioenergy projects into communities by providing Extension educators with tools and knowledge they can use to make this happen.

What Did We Do?

Developed three peer-reviewed, research-based online modular courses. Content was developed by experts from across the North Central Region. Included in one of the modules is a bioenergy and renewable energy community assessment toolkit.

Screen shot of the front page of the Bioenergy Training web site.

What Have We Learned?

The curriculum went live on the web in February 2013. We have not received any feedback on it to date. However, based on the reviews of individuals who used the bioenergy and renewable energy community assessment toolkit in 2012, it does a very good job of helping developers and communities objectively assess renewable energy projects.

Future Plans

Use the curriculum as a foundation for distance learning courses targeting other audiences.


M. Charles Gould, Extension Educator, Michigan State University,

Over 50 individuals participated in some aspect of curriculum development.

Additional Information

The Bioenergy Training Center web site is being revamped. It will be posted here at a later date.


Curriculum materials and training programs of ‘The Bioenergy Training Center’ were made possible through a grant from the National Water Resources Program, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture. NIFA/USDA Agreement No. WISN-2007-03790. Project Title: “Energy Independence, Bioenergy Generation and Environmental Sustainability: The Role of a 21st Century Engaged University”.

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. 2013. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Denver, CO. April 1-5, 2013. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.