Sheldon Crop Advantage Conference Helps Producers Make Better Decisions

Joel DeJong, Extension Field Agronomist, Northwest Area

Problem Statement:

Keeping on the cutting edge of crop production practices is a need for crop producers and crop advisors alike if they intend on keeping their businesses profitable. Finding effective ways to put research-based information in their hands – for use in crop production – is a continual challenge for us in Extension. Time is short for all people, so insuring that a lot of quality information is available to crop producers - in a limited time period - is more critical than ever before.  But, the world of agronomy constantly changes, as do the needs for our clients - producers need to find ways to keep current.

Programmatic Response:

The Crop Advantage series is a state-wide series for programs designed to bring the highest level of information and put them into the hands of farmers.  Each conference is unique to the needs of producers in that region, however. The conference held at Sheldon in January 2008 had two keynote speakers in the morning and three concurrent workshops over three afternoon time periods.  This format had general sessions on topics which almost everyone is interested in hearing, and allows producers to be time-efficient in the afternoon by selecting workshops that are of interest to them - leaving no time periods where they have to endure topics that are not relevant to them. In addition, credits were given for Certified Crop Advisors - and a workshop to certify these farmers for private pesticide applicator continuing education was done at the conclusion of the day - more efficiency for the audience.

In 2008, the Crop Advantage Conference in Sheldon attracted 212 paid participants. A survey was conducted of participants asking several questions, with 106 returned surveys.  Ninety-six percent of attendees rated the program either good or excellent. Obviously, participants felt they benefited from this conference.  We also asked respondents to list what they learned and how it will benefit them in the future.  There were 54 responses listing specific things they learned at the conference and how they will benefit their ag operation. 35% of respondents were under the age of 45 – a good sign we are reaching farmers who will be in the business for a long time.

Another question asked “For the acres you manage, how much, per acre, do you estimate to improve your profits because of what you learned today?” Seventeen listed $0 - $5; 53 indicated $5 - $10 per acre; 15 noted an increase of $10 - $20 per acre; and 7 thought they would increase income over $20 per acre. The total acres impacted by the respondents to this survey were 158,055 acres.

This conference can and does give them good research-based information for better decision making.  This format is time-efficient for them, and creates an opportunity to learn. It will continue.


#100 – Corn and Soybean Production and Protection

Page last updated: November 20, 2008
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