Combining Holistic Resource Management and Strategic Planning to Improve Farm Resource Planning

1997 Annual Report for ENC97-021

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 1997: $9,500.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2000
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $14,412.00
Region: North Central
State: Indiana
Project Coordinator:
Craig Dobbins
Dept of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University

Combining Holistic Resource Management and Strategic Planning to Improve Farm Resource Planning


Objectives of this project included:

1) Introduce the concepts and techniques from holistic resource management and strategic planning to extension educators.

2) Provide professional development sessions where extension educators will learn to apply holistic and strategic management tools to planning the farm business.

3) Improve farmers’ understanding and skills in utilizing holistic resource management and strategic management methods for the development and implementation of farm management strategies.

To provide extension specialists, county educators, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) personnel, and farmers an opportunity to learn more about holistic management, a multi-day workshop was held on holistic management was held. This workshop was led by Ed Martsolf and served as a basic introduction to holistic management. The workshop emphasized the principles associated with development of the holistic goal and the testing of alternatives.

An in-service training session on applying strategic planning to the farm business was conducted for county educators. In addition to providing an increased understanding of strategic planning, this session had the objective of encouraging the formation of instructional teams to lead farmer workshops. The materials developed for this session were packaged under the title of Positioning the Farm Business. Topics contained in the educational program include the forces shaping production agriculture, the use of vision and mission statements in developing goals, and methods for implementing and monitoring the strategic plan. Teaching materials for each section of the program included visuals, reference materials, and exercises.

The first session provided an introduction to holistic management for four county educators, two extension specialists, three NRCS personnel, and five farm couples. The audience for the next session included 20 county educators. These sessions are the initial step in the development of a team(s) to conduct educational programs on whole-farm planning with farmers. One team comprised of extension educators and extension specialists has developed and are scheduling workshop for farmers.

A formal evaluation of these sessions was not conducted, but those attending indicated that the sessions had been helpful. As usual, several suggestions for improvement were made and the educational materials continue to be refined based on these comments. The addition of a case problem is one important change that was made to the strategic management material.

For more information:
Craig Dobbins
Purdue University
Department of Ag Economics
1145 Krannert, Room 640
West Lafayette, IN 47907-1145
765-494-9176 (fax)
[email protected]


Craig Dobbins

Purdue Univ.
IN 47907