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County Offices

Douglas County Programs

Eagles and Agriculture

The seven-year-old Eagles and Agriculture program promotes the benefits agriculture provides wildlife and the community in western Nevada. The program enhances participant knowledge of wildlife habitat and local agriculture.


Nearly half of Douglas County’s 450,000 acres is zoned for agriculture, and although county residents enjoy the rural character of the area, many complain about some aspects of it, such as dust, flies, odors and slow-moving farm vehicles. Farmers and ranchers often find themselves in public meetings defending their industry. With the price of land increasing — the price per acre has grown from $1,000 in 1980 to $40,000 in 2008 — and the profitability of farms and ranches threatened by a poor economy, many ranchers are tempted to sell to land developers or prospective home buyers lured to an attractive valley of green pastures, livestock, wildlife and the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada. Although the face of agriculture in Douglas County is changing as land is subdivided, public understanding of the value agriculture provides our communities is critical to its sustainability.

What Has Been Done:

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension teamed up with the Western Nevada Resource Conservation and Development District, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Carson Valley Conservation District and local ranchers in 2003 to discuss how to promote agriculture. The group focused on the annual migration of bald eagles to the Carson Valley in February, when the birds arrive in significant numbers to feed on the afterbirth left in the fields during the calving season. The phenomenon was already attracting onlookers every year, so the decision was made to produce a safe activity to help people learn about agriculture and the benefits it provides wildlife and the community. Additionally, the Eagles and Agriculture program would encourage the conservation and prosperity of ranching in western Nevada; teach participants about eagle habits and the history of agriculture in Carson Valley; and create a model of agritourism that would enhance the profitability of local farming and ranching businesses.

The program covers two and a half days and includes bus tours of the Carson Valley, an “owl prowl” photo workshop, a reception with guest speakers, luncheon, river rafting and an evening reception with a guest speaker. Cooperative Extension helps coordinate the event, produces the tour brochure and provides bus guides for participants touring the Carson Valley to view bald eagles and learn about the symbiotic relationships between agriculture and wildlife. Five 50-passenger luxury buses tour the Carson Valley and visit five ranches. The groups are hosted by two bird experts from the local Audubon Society, as well as experts in local history, agriculture and folklore. At each stop, the ranchers discuss their operation while the bird experts set up viewing scopes to watch the eagles and other significant birds in the area.


Eagles and Agriculture has had a powerful effect on Carson Valley agriculture industry and the relationships between ranchers and the community — from local and federal politicians to conservationists and business leaders. Post-event surveys show that participants gain a better understanding of Carson Valley agriculture and cow-calf production, but also a greater appreciation for the role agriculture plays in providing wildlife habitat. A ranching community 100 miles north of Douglas County now hosts an event titled “Bird, Barns and BBQ” that is modeled after the Douglas County program. State and federal lawmakers help promote the event; the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Authority provide a grant to help advertise the event outside a 100-mile radius of Carson Valley; and the local newspaper helps educate the public about the beneficial convergence of agriculture and nature. Information about this event published in various magazines, newspapers, newsletters and catalogs reaches an estimated 500,000 readers, helping spread word of the value of agriculture and ranching in the valley.

The event has brought in an estimated $1.4 million in revenue to the local economy over the last seven years. What’s more, elected officials have shown a keener appreciation for agriculture in our communities. Local decision-makers are more attuned to input from members of the agricultural community, and decisions in recent years on master plan issues, floodplain ordinances and land-use planning tools such as conservation easements and transferring development rights have been more favorable to agricultural needs.

This event has helped elevate the sense of pride and purpose in those involved in Carson Valley’s agriculture industry. Eagles and Agriculture has inspired residents to explore other agricultural enterprises. One rancher involved in Eagles and Agriculture from the early years started an antique business and conducts historical tours that include agricultural history. Ranchers have learned that the public wants to support local agriculture and purchase locally grown meat and produce. As a result, a niche livestock marketing group was formed to investigate the feasibility of a slaughter and processing facility.

Printable Program Impact

Contact: Steve Lewis, Extension Educator, 775-782-9968

Programs Program Information

Eagles and Agriculture

The seven-year-old Eagles and Agriculture program promotes the benefits agriculture provides wildlife and the community in western Nevada. The program enhances participant knowledge of wildlife habitat and local agriculture.

Green Industry Training Programs of Northern Nevada

Green Industry Training (GIT) and Green Industry Continuing Education Series (GICES) are cost- and time-efficient approaches to serving the Green Industries of northern Nevada, including nursery workers, landscapers, arborists, irrigation and lawn care professionals. The Green Industry Training program begins in late winter with eight three-hour sessions of entry-level training for new industry workers, for those desiring to work in the industry and for existing industry professionals desiring a skills "tune-up." After "basic training," industry members are invited to monthly continuing education opportunities — one hour per month over the noon hour — to hone and improve their skills.

Healthy Eating Active Living: Mapping Attributes using Participatory Photographic Surveys (HEAL MAPPS)

Healthy Eating Active Living: Mapping Attributes using Participatory Photographic Surveys (HEAL MAPPS) is a compilation of evidence-based engagement and assessment tools that is used to audit and map community environmental features that support and/or hinder healthful eating and physical activity among community members. The MAPPS method integrates photography, participatory community mapping using global positioning system (GPS) technology, and residents’ voiced perceptions of their community. HEAL MAPPS engages people in community-based participatory research to document attributes of the rural community environment that are perceived by residents as obesity preventing or promoting and assess the local resources and readiness to implement community-level obesity prevention strategies to prevent unhealthy weight gain/overweight and obesity among children and their families.

Keeping Kids Safe: Recognizing, Reporting, and Responding to Child Maltreatment

Preventing child abuse and neglect is a high priority in Elko County. Child caregivers, youth workers, volunteers and anyone interested in learning what they can do to prevent child abuse and neglect can attend this workshop. Participants learn how to recognize signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect, understand their reporting requirements and their role in preventing child maltreatment.

Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages


Living With Fire

Living with Fire is a comprehensive, multi-agency program aimed at teaching homeowners how to live more safely in high wildfire-hazard environments. The program, encompassing research and education, was developed in 1997 as a result of a collaboration between University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE), Nevada’s Agricultural Experiment Station and the Sierra Front Wildfire Cooperators, a group of 12 Nevada and California firefighting agencies.

Master Gardeners in Nevada

Master Gardeners provide free, research-based horticulture information to Nevadans. They are volunteers who learn advanced plant science skills from at least 50 hours of classroom instruction by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) professionals. After training, Master Gardeners volunteer a minimum of at least 50 hours a year to pass along their newly acquired knowledge through the media, talks and workshops. They answer phone calls, send out informational materials and develop community gardens.

Processing and Marketing of Local Meat Products: A Feasibility Analysis

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) developed a feasibility study to find ways to improve financial stability for Nevada livestock producers through processing and niche marketing.

Risk Management

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) develops and delivers a comprehensive risk management education program to livestock and forage producers in Nevada.

Statewide Programs *Statewide programs may not be available in all counties

Programs Program Information
4-H Youth Development
Beef Quality Assurance
Cattlemen’s Update
Food Safety Project
Grow Your Own, Nevada
Herds and Harvest
Invasive Species (Weeds)
Nevada Radon Education Program
Nevada State GEAR UP
Nevada Youth Range Camp
People of the Land
Pesticide Safety Education Program
Riparian and Watershed Assessment and Management
Stronger Economies Together
Unmanned Aerial Systems
Weed Prevention and Management