1998 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.
The WIRE program is being accepted in Idaho as one of the better farm/ranch management programs in the state. The 1998-year allowed the SARE grant system to fund the training of additional Idaho team members. With these additional team members, little SARE money will be needed for travel. This will allow more money to be available for course materials for future class participants. The WIRE program can now be taught in several areas of the state with three different WIRE teams. The coming year will see WIRE expand into the northern part of Idaho. This area of the state is not made up of the typical farm/ranch like the rest of the state. The WIRE course outline will need to be adapted to fit a more diverse audience.
WIRE has helped producers see the value of learning all they can about their operation before they make major decisions regarding their future. The Idaho WIRE team is excited to offer this educational program. One of the news editors in Idaho called the WIRE program the "MBA" of ranching/farming. We feel we offer that kind of training.
C. Specific Results
1. Findings and Accomplishments
In 1998 the Idaho WIRE team successfully taught three separate WIRE courses in three areas of the state.
Idaho WIRE programs have been accepted as a qualified courses for FSA (FmHA) borrowers.
The Idaho WIRE team is an interdisciplinary group from the following disciplines: Family and Consumer Science, Animal Science, Plant Science, Soils Science, Agricultural Economics, and Range Science.
The participants evaluate each WIRE program. This information is available on the World Wide Web at http://agecon.uwyo.edu/wire. Statistical analysis of the data can be obtained here, as well as aggregated information from Utah, Montana, and Wyoming.
Evaluations of the three Idaho WIRE courses offered in 1998 revealed that participants overall scored the courses at 3.35 of a possible 4.0*. In addition, participants gave 3.93 of 5 points for the course meeting expectations, 87 percent said they would recommend the course to others at the same fee, and 71 percent indicated they had already begun identifying strategic goals.
* 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.
D. Potential Benefits or Impacts on Agriculture
Participants are instructed to be more observant of their operations in several ways. They are taught methods of risk management, as well as ways to see problems before they occur. Many hours are spent setting goals. People for the first time, consider where they want to be in 10 years and what is it going to take to get there.
Participants are taught methods of better communication not only for the operation but also for the family.
Alternative enterprises are studied in the Idaho WIRE class. This is to evaluate the alternatives available to producers which might allow for better use of their resources, while also realizing a better bottom line.
Producers are taught how to integrate these new enterprises into their operations before the actual step is taken. This should help producers visualize new enterprise problems before they occur.
E. Farmer Adoption and Direct Impact
One of the major areas of adoption for the program is in the area of goal setting. We have found this to be a major stumbling block of most farm/ranch operations. When producers start to set goals, they find it easy to adapt their time and efforts to the accomplishment of the goals. Without the goals, they find themselves working every day, not really understanding where they are headed.
The next large area of impact the program has on people is in the area of team building and personnel development. Most operations only deal with immediate family members, but producers are finding these people have a great deal to do with the success of their individual operations. By training the producers to build a team concept, even within their own family, operations are being run with less stress on the families and especially less stress on the husband/wife relationship. One wife stated "Thank-you for the communication part of this training. We can discuss problems now that we have never been able to discuss in the past. We have a better understanding of what each other is thinking; what a wonderful program!" Another producer stated about his hired man: "I have always tried to get him to do things he didnt want to do. I have learned in this class to give him more responsibility in his strong areas. By doing this, he doesnt feel "picked" on to do some of the less glamorous things on our operation. I really never understood why he was always so depressed. Now, we have a better relationship and are working as a team."
F. Reactions from Farmers and Ranchers
I would like to follow the Homestead Ranch more. I really enjoyed this class I learned a lot about myself related to goals.
All the information taught is very useful
I felt the class was very informative. I feel no changes are needed.
I found the class to be well planned out and presented in a way that I could grasp the concepts in a way that will pertain to my operation.
I really liked the color/personality part. I think that part really helped me as a wife to understand why and how my husband and father-in-law act and react to some of the things going on our ranch.
The portion on strategic planning will benefit our current operation the concept of the wheel will help integrate the three areas. Courses such as this are tools to help us complete in today's world. Continued education is important to our success. It would be beneficial if it didn't end with this.
G. Producer Involvement
Number of growers/producers in attendance at:
__ Field Days
75 Other events (specify): Presentations to producer groups and informal contacts.
H. Future Recommendations or New Hypotheses
ATTACHMENT A. Selected newspaper and popular press articles about WIRE programs.