WSU Clark County Extension

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Small Acreage: Living On the Land

Program Outputs and Impacts
Program Objectives

Photo showing stream restoration

A curriculum for small acreage land users

Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages consists of five main learning modules. Each learning module has several lessons that relate to and expand on the main theme.

Learning Module 1: Setting the Stage and Inventorying Resources
Learning Module 2: Your Living Soil
Learning Module 3: All Life Depends on Water
Learning Module 4: Love Your Grass As Much As Your Animals
Learning Module 5: Don’ t Forget The Animals!

Module 1: Setting The Stage, Inventorying Resources

  • What Do You Have & What Do You Want? Turning Dreams into Reality

    Gain an understanding of the reasons for living on small acreage property. Develop short and long term goals. Complete an inventory and property map.

  • What Can You Do? Turning Dreams into Reality

    Gain an understanding of human and financial resources and community issues that affect your property. Look at federal, state and county regulations that may place limitations on your property. Work on solutions, compromises or mitigations to minimize these effects. Revise your goals to reflect any limitations.

Module 2: Your Living Soil

  • Getting Down and Dirty With Soil

    Learn about soil texture and structure, the relationship between soil biology and soil fertility, how to minimize the threat of soil erosion, and practical ways to manage soils in order to maintain and/or improve them.

  • Managing Soil to Keep It Productive

    Soil testing and the basics of fertilization: soil needs, application, and minimizing pollution. Learn the fundamentals of soil surveys and how to determine soil potential using a soil survey.

  • Got Water?

    Look at irrigation, relating soil texture to soil water-holding capacity and drainage, judging water-holding capacity, irrigation water quality, and delivery methods.

Module 3: All Life Depends On Water

  • Water Quality: Making the Connection between You and the Water

    Look at water quality issues and the importance of water quality on small acreages. Gain an understanding of regulations governing water quality and the connection between ground and surface water and your role in protecting or polluting a watershed. You will be able to identify pollution sources on your property and appropriate management practices to address those problems.

  • Protecting Household Drinking Water

    This lesson teaches how septic systems work, along with their management and maintenance. You will learn how to protect your drinking water and how and when to do water tests, how to interpret the results, and what corrective actions to take.

  • My Place on a Stream

    Learn riparian area function and practices that affect stream health. Inventory your property for potential areas of concern.

Module 4: Love Your Grass As Much As Your Animals

  • How Grass Grows

    Learn the life cycle of forage plants, how to identify common plants, and how to estimate how many animals your pastures will support.

  • What to Do About Weeds

    Learn about state laws regarding noxious weeds and techniques to prevent weed invasions and spread. Poisonous plant and common weed control methods. Inventory your property to locate and control weeds.

  • Photo of muddy pasturePasture Establishment and Renovation

    Learn techniques for pasture renovation and establishment along with the pros and cons of the different practices.

Module 5: Don’ t Forget The Animals!

  • So, You Want To Be an Animal Owner

    Explore the legal constraints, including zoning and permitting, to animal ownership. Articulate your ownership goals and learn the basics of animal needs. Estimate the number of animals your property can support, and the financial and labor costs for acquiring and maintaining animals.

  • Caring For Your Animals

    Learn basic animal husbandry, including ruminant and nonruminant digestive systems, knowing animal nutritional needs, and the basics of preventative health care for animals.

  • Managing Animals to Avoid Negative Impacts

    Minimize animal impacts to your land, especially through the proper management of manure. You will also learn how to encourage wildlife while understanding predator control.

  • Grazing Management

    Learn about the benefits of grazing management through an understanding of how grass grows, as well as the basics of grazing systems and pasture configurations and how to monitor those systems.

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Outputs And Impacts

Short term –

  • Facilitate and teach classes and workshops to non-agricultural landowners about the necessity of proper resource management.
  • Increase the skill level of non-agricultural landowners in assessing their resources, identifying problem areas and realizing possible solutions.

Medium term –

  • Increase the number of non- agricultural landowners who are adopting Best Management Practices (BMPs) such as soil testing, water management, proper grass management, proper stocking rates, etc.

Long term –

  • More small acreage landowners are properly managing their water, soil, and plant resources resulting in better water quality, healthier pastures, less weed populations and healthier animals.

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Participants in the Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages program will:

  1. Understand the difference between renewable and nonrenewable soil, water, plant, and animal resources.
  2. Raise skill levels in five basic core competency areas: land use planning and inventorying resources, soil sustainability, water sustainability, plant sustainability and management, and animal sustainability and management.
  3. Increase understanding and technical expertise related to managing their small acreage resource.
  4. Identify key sustainable practices (Best Management Practices, BMPs) to implement on their acreages and in their community.

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WSU Clark County Extension,

Clark County Clean Water Program,
Clark Conservation District,

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Douglas M. Stienbarger, Director
WSU Clark County Extension

Matt Vesh, Program Coordinator
WSU Clark County Extension
(360) 397-6060 ext. 5729

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WSU Clark County Extension, 1919 NE 78th St, Vancouver, WA 98665, 360-397-6060, Contact Us