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County Offices

Washoe County Programs

Herds and Harvest

Cattle grazing on a ranch The Herds & Harvest Program provides information on topics useful to Nevada’s ranchers, as well as its farmers, such as workshops on processing and selling locally grown meat, food safety, and business planning. Photo by Robert Moore.

Educational and mentoring programs and workshops help Nevada’s beginning agricultural producers

Relevance/Issue

Agriculture is the second-largest component of economic stability in Nevada rural communities. At least 95 percent of state land is devoted to farming and ranching, with 4,135 farms.

Most agricultural sales in Nevada include cattle and calf production, followed by hay, other crops, milk and other dairy products, vegetables, melons, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Nevada has seen an increase in specialty crop operations, with the U.S. Census of Agriculture from the USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service reporting at least 1,000 new farms over the past decade. These producers primarily sell through farmers markets, roadside stands and Community Supported Agriculture projects.

Women, American Indians, Hispanics and operators of more than one race comprise a large portion of the total number of operators. The demographic profile of Nevada’s beginning producers characterizes the need in Nevada for a project that reaches socially disadvantaged and limited-resource farmers and ranchers.

Response/What’s Been Done

Since 2011, through the Herds & Harvest Program, Extension has provided workshops and educational business management and mentoring programs to support over 1,000 beginning agricultural producers, targeting individuals identified and/or recruited through the USDA, most of whom qualify as socially disadvantaged and limited-resource beginning farmers and ranchers. In 2017, 16 workshops educated 392 people on topics such as business strategies, winemaking, hops, small-scale poultry, hoop-house farming, social media marketing, and meat processing and quality.

Herds & Harvest mentoring programs also help beginning producers increase their profitability and sustainability through one-on-one and small group networking. In 2017, 176 mentoring sessions were held on topics such as enterprise budgets and production agriculture, including 21 sessions on Indian reservations serving 315 tribal members. Many other producers benefitted from networking with one another through the program.

Results/Impact and Partners

Since 2011, at least 157 workshops have been offered, reaching 1,098 beginning farmers and ranchers.

Program impacts in 2017 were measured via post-program evaluations. Of the 392 program participants, 126 returned evaluations, of which:

  • 96 learned how to improve quality in their products
  • 94 learned how to add value to the products they produce
  • 91 learned how to increase their income
  • 73 learned how to increase yields
  • 71 learned how to increase farm and ranch income

Partners included Nevada Cattlemen’s Association, U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Services Agency, Nevada Farm Bureau, Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce, local agriculture producers and wineries.

IMPACTS




1,098

beginning farmers and ranchers reached since 2011



96

participants learned how to improve quality in their products in 2017



“As a result of our contacts with [Herds & Harvest], we became connected to the agricultural community, exchanging help, ideas and resources. Our business grew due to these connections and prompted changes in our methods.”

— Agricultural producer


Contact: Staci Emm, Mineral County Extension Educator, 775-945-3444, ext. 1039

Programs Program Information

4-H Afterschool

All children face risks as they grow and develop, but children who live in low-income housing or are homeless may be at higher risk for participating in risky behaviors. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) developed the 4-H After School Club (ASC) to teach children basic life skills including math, reading, science, positive communication, goal setting, self-responsibility, decision-making and good nutrition. Youth who have these life skills are less likely to participate in risky behaviors.

Calming the Waters: Learning to Manage Western Water Conflict

Conflict has surrounded the Truckee, Carson and Walker River Basins for decades. Key issues include historical use on tribal lands, historical and current water rights, threats to water quality, and wildlife habitat protection. This program teaches youth about Nevada’s water issues and helps them develop the skills needed to address future water conflicts.

Commercial Landscape Horticulture

Thistles prepared for the “Noxious Weeds and Weed Law” green industry class

Engaged Leadership Program

Washoe County, Nevada, needed advanced training and skill building for the county’s Community Advisory Board (CAB) members to help them to participate effectively in local government issues that impact their communities. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension developed and implemented an Engaged Leadership program to assist chairpersons and CAB members in their efforts to create and sustain effective boards.

Family Storyteller Literacy Program

National award-winning Family Storyteller is a literacy program aimed at encouraging and training parents to play a vital role in the literacy development of their children. Developed by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE), KNPB-TV, the Washoe County libraries and Washoe County School District, the statewide program creates an opportunity for parents and young children to interact around literacy and language activities. Family Storyteller is designed especially for families that may have limited language skills and few children’s books at home.

Fun To Play

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Fun To Play program targets families where, due to the young age, inexperience or limited resources of the parents, young children are placed at-risk for developmental delays and later school difficulties. Fun To Play is a series of weekly infant/child sessions aimed at improving the parenting skills of young parents by increasing the amount of learning activities and interaction they provide their children.

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.

Grow Your Own, Nevada

 A tray of vegetables

Grow Yourself Healthy

Integrated Pest Management

Nevada Department of Agriculture’s records show the use of traditional pesticides continues to increase in the state. Nevada’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program helps agricultural producers, land managers; pest control operators, homeowners and other pest managers learn about and use alternative pest management strategies in a variety of environments and settings.

Little Books and Little Cooks

Children scooping soil from a wheelbarrow into a carton

Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages

Issue:

Living With Fire

Be Ember Aware publication

Master Gardeners in Nevada

 A bumblebee pollinating a yellow flower

NEMO Nevada, Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials

The NEMO (Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials) program was originated in Connecticut and has spread nationwide. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offers the NEMO program in Washoe County. The premise is that improvements in land-use planning can result in protection of water resources, which can negate the need to fix problems after the fact by applying best management practices. The program will help land-use decision-makers understand the nature of the nonpoint source pollution problem and its impact on their lives, towns and natural resource base. This enables them to plan for growth and development while addressing water quality issues through educated land use decisions.

Noxious Weed Control and Awareness Education

Noxious and invasive weeds are widespread throughout Nevada. They threaten agricultural and rangeland productivity. Rural counties are susceptible to significant adverse economic damage. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension education programs help individuals and weed control organization reduce the abundance of noxious weeds.

Pick a better snack™ (formerly Chefs for Kids)

This evidence-based campaign focuses on building fruit and vegetable consumption in children through healthy snacking. Pick a better snack™ is a monthly, in-school nutrition education program for primary grade children in at-risk elementary schools in Clark and Washoe counties in Nevada. In addition to direct instruction, staff works with school wellness coordinators to build meaningful and sustainable programming to create a well environment in every school.

Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL)

Man conducting irrigation water audit

Small Steps 4 Big Changes

Parent involvement is recognized as a key factor in making wise food selections and shaping food and health behavior attitudes that affect the child’s habits and food preferences. Conducted in partnership with the 4-H Youth Development Program, a series of ten nutrition lessons incorporate recipe preparation, food sampling and physical activity segments, with additional nutrition education content for the parent or adult caregiver. All lesson segments are focused on thriving within a limited budget, as well as increasing fruit and vegetable intake. This program has been successfully offered to five Reno Housing Authority (RHA) and other 4-H After School Program sites since the initial launch of the pilot program. The program fosters behavior changes identified by the Centers for Disease Control as being linked to childhood obesity prevention.

Team Nutrition “Smart Choices”

This program strives to address the public health issue of childhood obesity through building basic skills related to food selection and promoting an increased variety of nutritious foods consumed especially vegetables and fruits.

Water Wise

Water Wise is a new, online educational program that complements University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s local watershed protection, storm water protection and land-use decision-maker education projects (NEMO-Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials).

Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training

The Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training Program is held several times a year, usually in late winter or spring. This eight-hour, two-day introductory-level training introduces participants to the principles of Integrated Weed Management and focuses on improving ability to identify noxious weeds of local importance. A small fee is charged for program materials, and the class can be videoconferenced to other locations upon request. Each year, several dozen people go through the training and become certified Weed Warriors. Pesticide applicators receive six Continuing Education Credits for attending this course. Each year in May during a community event in the Truckee Meadows, Weed Warrior volunteers help rid parks and riverfront areas of invasive thistles.

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

Programs Program Information
4-H Youth Development
Cattlemen’s Update
Food Safety Project
Herds and Harvest
Integrated Riparian Management/Creeks and Communities
Invasive Species (Weeds)
Nevada Radon Education Program
Nevada State GEAR UP
Nevada Youth Range Camp
People of the Land
Pesticide Safety Education Program
Risk Management
Stronger Economies Together
Weed Prevention and Management
Youth for the Quality Care of Animals