1997 Progress Report
SECTION II - Annual Report
1. Teach ranchers/farmers a process of integrated managementWestern Integrated Ranch/Farm Educationin one additional western state: Idaho.
2. Develop/provide additional in-depth follow up training in specific resource areas, to meet needs identified by program participants.
3. Continue to evaluate the program in terms of adoption of management concepts and resource sustainability following implementation of the WIRE process by selected cooperators.
Several major accomplishments were achieved during this the first year for offering WIRE programs in Idaho. The first hurdle for the program was development of a teaching team. To this end, a full 5-day WIRE course was offered by the Wyoming WIRE team in Idaho Falls, Idaho in December 1996. In addition, an introduction to WIRE was made to the Idaho Agricultural County Agents Association (IACAA) annual meeting in Salmon, Idaho. As a result, 7 county agents and 3 specialists came together to form Idahos WIRE team.
A team training, was held for the Idaho team in September, 1997. This 8-hour training prepared members of the Idaho team to offer the full 45-hour WIRE course. During the training, the team scheduled two WIRE courses to be offered in the coming months of December and January. An intense period of preparation followed the team training, but this paid off with a successful first offering in Montpelier, Idaho.
Benefits of the program already apparent to the instructors range from getting people to think, to having groups change the management of their operations. Several operations will now do a better job of tracking their financial situation as a result of attending the course. A number of producers are also asking for more information on range analysis and stocking rates. Most of the individuals, which attended a WIRE course, are now setting goals for the first time in their respective operation's history. This will do more for these operations than any other one thing they could have done.
C. Specific Project Results
1. Findings and Accomplishments
Several major accomplishments were achieved during this the first year of WIRE in Idaho. The first hurdle for the program was development of a teaching team. To this end, a full 5-day WIRE course was offered by the Wyoming WIRE team in Idaho Falls, Idaho in December 1996. Three producers and 11 county agents attended the program. In addition, members of the Wyoming team offered an introduction to WIRE at the Idaho Agricultural County Agents Association (IACAA) meeting in Salmon, Idaho in June 1997. As a result, 7 county agents and 3 specialists came together as Idahos team.
A team training, offered by the Wyoming team, was held in September, 1997. This 8-hour training was attended by 7 of the Idaho team members. During the training, the team scheduled two WIRE courses to be offered in the months of December and January. An intense period of preparation followed the team training, but this paid off with a successful first offering in Montpelier, Idaho.
The first objective of the project is to teach ranchers/farmers a process of integrated management. Evaluations of the Montpelier 1997 course was graded 3.44 out of a possible 4. For all (ID/MT/UT/WY) WIRE courses offered to date under SARE projects, the overall course rating was 3.56 of a possible 4 points.*
Other evaluation scores enumerated for all WIRE-SARE courses show that 96%* of participants would recommend the course to their neighbors at the same fee level, 76%* indicated they have begun to identify strategic goals, and 70%* indicated that they are starting to evaluate their operations enterprises and resource requirements, as well as 64% have started thinking in terms of individual enterprises rather than all enterprises together. In addition, participant response to the following questions resulted in the corresponding scores:
- To what extent did the program meet your expectations? 3.95 of 5*
- How clear to you is the purpose of an integrated approach? 4.29 of 5*
- How much of the information will you be able to use on your operation? 3.97 of 5*
- How valuable was the program in terms of money you invested? 4.18 of 5*
- How valuable was the program in terms of time you invested? 4.09 of 5*
* All reported scores are averages weighted by number of course participants.
2. Dissemination of Findings
To date, the findings of this project (in all states) have been disseminated by several methods: popular press articles, WWW pages, satellite and videotape presentations, and through the offerings of WIRE courses. Popular press articles reaching producers mailboxes across the West have been published on the WIRE program.
Also, through the annual regional coordinating committee meetings, state team leaders have shared experiences of participants and teachers from WIRE courses. These experiences and learning have been incorporated into the offerings of WIRE courses, thus immediately benefiting course participants.
Finally, meetings with other producer audiences have also provided forums for disseminating information about the WIRE program and techniques. Posters, presentations using the WIRE case study video, television advertisements, and other techniques have generally made producers in the participating states more aware of the availability of the integrated management program. ATTACHMENT A includes newspaper and newsletter articles/announcements about WIRE courses.
3. Site Information N/A
4. Economic Analysis N/A
D. Potential Contributions
1. Positive Benefits or Impacts
Benefits of the program range from getting people to think, to having groups change the management of their operations. Several operations will now do a better job of tracking their financial situation as a result of attending the course. These individuals asked course instructors for assistance with analysis using the FINPACK financial analysis software program.
A number of producers are also asking for more information on range analysis and stocking rates. Seven operations asked specifically for range evaluation assistance. Most of the individuals, which attended a WIRE course, are now setting goals for the first time in their respective operation's history. This will do more for these operations than any other one thing they could have done. Most participants talk of needing help doing a good inventory of resources. Monitoring requests for assistance will tell whether or not these interests are real as time progresses.
Several ranches are now entertaining ideas of new enterprises for their operations. One operator owns three miles of shoreline along a popular fishing reservoir. As per our human inventory, we found that one of the wives of the owners had run a camping enterprise with her parents. The ranch is considering a new business which would allow her to offer camping along the shoreline of the lake for additional income to the operation. Other producers were thinking of additional enterprises for their respective situations as a direct result of the WIRE class.
2. Farmer Adoption and Direct Impact
a. Changes in Practices N/A
b. Operations Recommendations N/A
c. Farmer Comments
Seven individuals participated in the Montpelier Idaho WIRE course, offered for the first time by the Idaho WIRE team. On average over 2 individuals from each of the ranches that completed the course attended each class session. This will have a great influence on the success of WIRE for each operation. Classes were operated on five class-meetings over a four-week basis. Classes began at 12:30 each day, with two days including special field trips that started at 8:00 a.m. The classes concluded around 8:30 to 9:00 p.m.
Selected testimonials and participant comments gleaned from evaluations of the first Idaho WIRE programs offered under the SARE project include:
- "Good group of leaders, a lot of positive and fun energy. I enjoyed the class and learned a lot."
- "Overall it was great! I would like to know more about how and where we can get help to implement changes we makerange monitoring, finance, etc. We learned a lot that we WILL use. We have already identified several areas we need to start on."
- "I have learned to put my time to better use in strategic, tactical, and operational uses. Thanks, I enjoyed it all. I would love to do it again."
- "It's a long time to sit but I'm not sure how to change that. Perhaps, more field trip-type work. I enjoyed it."
- "Everyone was great. It was a very educational program. The instructors spent quality time with us as a group and also individually."
E. New Hypotheses
F. Producer Involvement
Number of growers/producers in attendance at:
__ Field Days
180 Other events (specify): Presentations to producer groups and informal contacts.
ATTACHMENT A. Selected newspaper and popular press articles about WIRE programs.