April- June 2002
Dennis Thomas , Farm Management Field Specialist
Each fall Iowa State University Extension farm management field specialists set up Pro Ag Outlook meetings using campus economists to present the information at these face-to-face meetings. Some of the meetings have attracted audiences of 25 or fewer people.
With recent budget cuts, more efficient use of the state staff must be made. Both campus outlook economists are extremely busy so their time has to be used efficiently as well. Two of the three meeting sites that I coordinated had an attendance of fewer than 25 people. A more time and cost efficient method of providing the information was needed.
The Iowa Communications Network (ICN) uses fiber optics to link sites throughout Iowa . It is frequently used for statewide Extension downlinks. I set up a four-site downlink for the campus economists to provide the agricultural outlook information. They presented their information at a fifth site on campus. A third presenter discussed the new grain marketing course offered over the Internet for computer users. The meeting lasted two hours.
The campus staff saved valuable time and travel expense by using the ICN instead four meetings. They talked to four different audiences at the same time. I asked the audience at the site I hosted if they would like to see future Pro Ag Outlook meetings offered over the ICN. Nearly all of them preferred it to a late afternoon/early evening meeting that had been used in previous years.
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