This project provided training for agriculture professionals in using the Wyoming Cow-Calf Record Management System, a computer database for cow-calf producers to capture and evaluate herd performance data. The training occurred in February 2008 and had 14 participants from 2 states and 3 organizations. The training was conducted over 3 days and included presentations and hands-on time with the database. Participants were pleased with the training, and at least 2 participants have taught courses to their clients on using the database.
Raise knowledge and awareness of agriculture professionals on the Wyoming Cow-Calf Record Management System.
Increase the level of useage of the database by agriculture producers.
With challenges such as drought and volatile markets the high-plains livestock producers are in need of tools to assist them in making the economic and livestock management decisions necessary for a sustainable operation. These challenges are occurring in a time when an increasing number of livestock producers are becoming comfortable with using computers for assisting in ranch management, record keeping and decision making. The Wyoming Cow-Calf Record Management System (WCCRMS) is a computerized database that has been designed to meet the special needs of the high-plains cow-calf operation that other record keeping systems are not appropriate for (University of Missouri, NDSU –CHAPS). With funding assistance from WSARE through a Chapter 1 grant, this database has been developed as a tool for producers to use to keep herd performance and economic records to provide them a means to better manage their operation. Research at Texas A&M has shown that when producers have adopted similar record management systems they have reported an average savings of $16,931 (McGrann and Richardson, 2003). By increasing returns high-plains producers will have greater economic sustainability and improved quality of life.
The database development and rollout is currently in year 2 of a 3 year WSARE Chapter 1 grant. The development and phase 1 rollout of the database has been very successful. Approximately 40 producers in Wyoming have requested a copy of the initial version of the database and several of these producers have started using the database to keep herd records. Feedback from users of the initial version is currently being incorporated to create a completed version for the phase 2 rollout scheduled for winter 2007 and winter 2008. There is a pressing need for educators in the region to be trained on the operation and usefulness of the database so that they can encourage producers to use the tool and provide troubleshooting service to producers with whom they work that are using the database.
University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service Educators have expressed a need to become more knowledgeable and experienced in the operation and implementation of the database so that they may promote the tool and assist producers in its utilization. They have requested a hands-on in-depth training on this topic. As this tool is applicable to many high-plains operations in the region, it was determined that a training should be developed and offered to professionals and educators from other organizations and neighboring states. A small amount of funding of the original Chapter 1 grant was targeted at providing train-the-trainer workshops ($2,500), however due to budget reductions on the original grant, the need for a training that reaches a regional audience and the need for greater in-depth, hands-on training, additional funding is being sought. The funding from the Chapter 1 grant will be used to support meetings of the team planning the training outlined in this proposal and incidentals not budged for in this proposal.
One of the strengths of the database development project has been producer involvement and real-world feedback. An important aspect of the training will be the participation of a producer who has served on the database advisory team and has implemented the database on his ranch. This producer will assist in delivery of the training and provide real word examples on the benefits and challenges of implementing the database.
Education & Outreach Initiatives
A three-day, two night training was held February 25-27th near Moran, Wyoming. The training consisted of a general session on the importance and potential impact of repeatable performance and economic record keeping for livestock producers, a session on the overview of the WCCRMS, how to use the WCCRMS, and a hands-on exercise requiring participants to use the WCCRMS in a production year for a mock ranch. Speakers included Dr. John Patterson, Montana State University on potential economic benefits of producers adopting a record management system. During the training, participants will be made familiar with the education materials provided to them and be given time to interact with presenters and have questions answered. After the training an e-mail list serve was created to facilitate information exchange, troubleshooting and coaching as the participants implement their educational efforts in the field.
Outreach and Publications
No publications resulted from this project, but an agenda and list of participants of the training course is attached.
Raised the knowledge and comfort level of natural resource professionals working across the region on the usefulness and operation of the WCCRMS.
Two attdees have reported that they have conducted sessions to producers on how to use the WCCRMS. By increasing utilization producers will be able to better manage their operation by having greater knowledge of the production and economic indicators on the ranch. This will allow them to make better management decisions thereby improving economic sustainability of their agriculture operations and improving quality of life for the producers and the communities they support.
Professionals who participated in the training developed new partnerships among colleagues due to the diverse cross section of participants from three institutions and two states. New skills were developed by the attendees and these new skills have been applied in their home areas.
Professionals attending better understand the importance and logistics of keeping ranch herd performance records and how to use the records to improve ranch profitability and sustainability.
There is a demand from livestock producers for a tool such as the WCCRMS and there is interest from extension educators to learn about database development.