Training Agricultural Leaders to Help Farmer Clients

Craig Chase, Farm and Ag Management Field Specialist, Northeast Iowa

Problems

The agricultural industry in Iowa is dominated by commodity production, which is a high volume, low profit margin industry. Narrow profit margins force farm businesses to grow in assets, output, and labor income to remain profitable. Farmers approach agricultural lenders and other agribusiness leaders to obtain capital for growth, market their crops or livestock, or purchase risk management products such as crop insurance.

To help agricultural lenders and other agribusiness professionals better understand marketing, the overall agricultural business environment, and risk management, Iowa State University Extension provides two different training opportunities per year. The fall Pro-Ag focuses on weather, marketing, global competition, and risk management tools farmers can and should use to enhance profits and lower risk.

The spring Pro-Ag focuses on value added agricultural opportunities and input reduction strategies such as joint machinery ventures. The half-day programs present enough information to enable participants to better match their products to producer needs and give them the confidence they need to suggest management strategies that could increase the economic viability of their farmer clientele.

Response

An end of the meeting evaluation indicated the program was well received. The three major topics were evaluated on whether they were perceived to be "beneficial". The percentage of attendees rating the topics as "beneficial" or "extremely beneficial" were; grain outlook and management (93%), livestock outlook and management (93%), and global policies and risk management (76%). Overall, ninety-three percent (93%) of the attendees rated the program "excellent" to "superior" with hundred percent (100%) stating they would recommend the program to others.

When asked what they learned and how they plan to use the information, numerous attendees stated they better understand crop and livestock outlook and risk management tools. Participants plan to help their producer clientele do a better job of risk management, better utilize insurance products, and guide them in their marketing decisions and implementation.

Impact

ISU Extension is reaching farmer clientele both directly and indirectly through agricultural service providers. The more service providers understand the business of farming, the more they can help farmers improve their profitability.

March 18, 2005
104 - Agricultural Risk and Financial Management, 1st (Oct - Dec)

Page last updated: July 4, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu