Whole-Farm Planning and Holistic Management - Phase II
The goal of this project is to develop in-depth decision case studies that document how farmers in our northeast region have used Holistic Management to make decisions on their farms that have resulted in some economic, social and/or environmental impact. This three-year second phase of the project will be accomplished by: 1) learning to prepare decision case studies; 2) using these case studies to facilitate the learning of agricultural educators and farmers; 3) working in teams to prepare comprehensive and effective decision case studies; and 4) meeting as an entire group to assist each other in learning decision case study design and content and how to utilize them in facilitating the learning of others; 5) garner further learning in Holistic Management; and 6) to evaluate the impact of these decisions case studies as effective teaching aides.
Four to five hundred hard copies and CD ROMS containing the decision case studies will be disseminated to agricultural educators and professionals throughout the Northeast and the studies will be provided on line by the end of the third year. A final evaluation of the benefits and usefulness of the decision case studies for educators teaching Holistic Management in the Northeast and the impact of managing holistically on participating farms will be the focus of the project’s third year.
From the 15 participants, 7 teams (each containing 2 – 3 individuals) will be formed and prepare decision case studies that they will use in teaching agricultural professionals and farmers. The teams will be composed of individuals who will have different responsibilities but who will work together and learn from each other.
Changes we seek: Educators will become more effective teachers by developing decision case studies on farms that are using the Holistic Management to develop whole farm plans. These decision case studies will document the decision making process used to address some significant on-farm issue and the results of these decisions. Educators will use these case studies to help describe the decision making process as well as what other decisions and impacts could have resulted given the documented circumstance. The effectiveness of teaching utilizing decision case studies will be evaluated.
Degree of change: Increased knowledge and learning by educators, agricultural professionals and farmers through the use of the decision case study in teaching will serve as the final benchmark for success. The impact of the case studies will be documented in the evaluation phase of the project. This process enhances the educator’s ability to facilitate farmer-to-farmer learning and farmer-to-educator learning along with the traditional educator-to-farmer/educator learning. Failing to do this results in the traditional learning pattern leaving it unchanged and misses the opportunity for using decision case study development and utilization in teaching.
This project will also document impacts on farms managing holistically here in the Northeast. These will include success and failures, as well as other data collected in an objective inquiry. Participants and farmers will not only be developing the decision case studies on individual farms but they will be utilizing this data in training other farmers and agency personnel. The final phase of the project will evaluate the effectiveness of using decision case studies as a teaching tool by those involved with farm management and whole farm planning as well as evaluating impacts of using Holistic Management on farms in the Northeast.
Of the 15 Participants involved, we will succeed with 14 of them. We will work with 7 educator teams consisting of 2 or 3 participants per team. These teams will develop decision case studies using them as teaching tools for educator professionals and farm management specialists who are teaching whole farm planning farm management and related subjects. These case studies will contain documentation of using Holistic Management for making decisions on the farm.
Achievement of Performance Target: Verification will show that of the 15 Beneficiaries, 14 (working in 7 teams of 2 or 3 individuals) will succeed in completing 7 decision case studies and use these as teaching tools. Verification will be documented through an in-depth evaluation of both the decision case study development process and the impact of using decision case studies with farmers and by other agricultural professions.
Only 9 participants attended the first residency due to schedule conflicts. The second residency had 12 attendees with one unable to attend due to sickness. There are 12 participants preparing decision cases that they will use in teaching agricultural professionals and farmers. The teams are still being formulated.
Educators are already utilizing the draft decision cases and the information learned in the two first residencies to become more effective teachers. Karl North’s decision case was used in the NY “Holistic Management Decision Making For Agency, Non-Profit Professionals and Farmers” training held November 4 & 5, 2004 in Hamilton, NY for 33 attendees from Cornell Cooperative Extension, USDA NRCS, various NGOs and farmers. Educators are using these case studies to help describe the decision making process as well as what other decisions and impacts could have resulted given a documented circumstance.
Degree of change: Increased knowledge and learning by educators, agricultural professionals and farmers through the use of the decision cases in teaching has begun to take place. The process does seem to enhance the educator’s ability to facilitate farmer-to-farmer learning and farmer-to-educator learning along with the traditional educator-to-farmer/educator learning. This was certainly the case at the November 2004 NY training workshop.
Although 15 participants were targeted, only 12 chose to participate. Some of the participants will be developing decision cases solo to ensure 7 are completed. This is preferred by some educators. All case studies will contain documentation of using Holistic Management for making decisions on the farm and or in organizations. One participant is looking at developing a case study utilizing local government as his subject.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
A draft decision case developed by Karl North was utilized as a teaching tool at the NY “Holistic Management Decision Making For Agency, Non-Profit Professionals and Farmers” training held November 4 & 5, 2004 in Hamilton, NY. A total of 33 attendees from Cornell Cooperative Extension, USDA NRCS, various NGOs and farmers were exposed to how a decision case can be used in teaching. It was determined to be an excellent tool and will be incorporated in further training workshops including the January 23, 2005 Vermont Grazing Conference event.
USDA - NRCS
University of Maine
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware Co.
86 Pitts Hill Lane
PO Box 638
Salem, NY 12865-0638
Office Phone: 5188549385
Iowa State University
972 110th Street
Hampton, IA 50441
Office Phone: 5152940887
Northland Sheep Dairy
Tioga Co. Planning
Cornell Small Farms Program