Ag Decision Maker -- Electronic Version

April- June 2002

Don Hofstrand , value-added farm management specialist

Problem
Information has value only if it is in the hands of people during periods of decision making. Traditionally, extension information has been disseminated through meetings and individual contacts. However, these methods miss a large number of potential users.

Response

Ag Decision Maker is a handbook and monthly newsletter on current business information relating to decisions facing farmers and agriculture in general. The handbook contains 120 different items pertaining to topics such as land values, leasing arrangements, crop and livestock budgets, marketing information, etc. The handbook is updated monthly as new information comes available. The updates are sent with the monthly newsletter. The monthly newsletter is six pages in length and usually contains three or four articles. After preparing over a year for the Internet version, AgDM on-line was initiated in February of 2002.

The electronic version is greatly expanded from the hardcopy version. The hardcopy version has 120 files, the electronic already has 170 files and growing. In addition, many of the files have "decision aids." These are electronic spreadsheets where individual users can enter their own numbers to find a solution for their individual situation.

Also, about 40 files have "teaching activities" associated with them. These are Microsoft Word files of questions relating to the respective file. For example, the "grain hedging" file has a teaching activity that asks questions about grain hedging. Classroom students complete the teaching activities with answers contained in the file. The teaching activity answers can then be sent to the agriculture instructor for grading. At a secure location on the AgDM site, answer keys to the teaching activities are located to help the agriculture instructor grade the teaching activities.

Impact

There are currently about hardcopy 600 subscriptions. Most of these subscriptions are by ag. lenders, professional farm managers, agriculture instructors, and extension personnel where the information is distributed widely to clientele.

Based on an evaluation conducted in 1999 and extrapolating the results over all subscriptions.

 

Page last updated: July 11, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu