ISU Extension Corn Train:  Managing Crop Risks

Steven Johnson, farm and ag business management field specialist, central Iowa


Volatile commodity prices, changes in the IRS tax code, weather uncertainty, and the need to improve the understanding of crop insurance tools provided the framework for a series of statewide risk management seminars.


The Farm Credit Services of America (FCSA) partnered with ISU Extension and 18 county offices to plan, conduct and evaluate 17 different seminars held in December 2003.  The theme of “Corn Train” connected the 100-year history of ISU Extension bringing “the University to the people.”  Elwynn Taylor, Extension Climatologist, and Steven Johnson, Farm and Ag Business Management Field Specialist, were keynote speakers at these seminars.  Planning was coordinated by the FCSA offices throughout the state in partnership with the host county Extension offices.  FCSA invited their customers and prospective customers to attend the seminar site nearest their farm operation.  County Extension offices handled site logistics, promotions to the public, pre-registration and on-site registration.  The three-hour program at all sites included a meal. 


More than 1,700 participants attended one of the 17 different seminar sites across the state.  Pre-test and post-test evaluations showed knowledge increase that doubled for all five topics:

More than 800 seminar respondents rated the program of high quality in meeting their educational needs.  Revenue from FCSA was distributed to ISU Extension as well as the 18 county offices that hosted one of the sites.

In addition, respondents indicated the future need for additional meetings, seminars, small group activities, one-on-one consultation, field days, websites, and print and electronic media articles.  ISU Extension will continue to partner with FCSA to assist in providing solutions to these needs for clientele throughout Iowa.

January 2004
104 – Ag Financial and Risk Management


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