- Animals: bovine
- Education and Training: decision support system
- Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, budgets/cost and returns
- Production Systems: holistic management
This project will provide training for agriculture and natural resource professionals interested in assisting livestock producers to implement the Wyoming Cow-Calf Record Management System (WCCRMS), a SARE funded database that aids high-plains livestock producers in sustainable operation management by facilitating accurate and compete livestock record keeping and analysis. Participation and interest from producers during the phase 1 roll-out of the WCCRMS has been greater than expected and there is a pressing need for professionals who are trained to assist producers in using the database. Research of similar projects has indicated that by implementing a livestock record management system such as the WCCRMS producers can see significant savings in overhead and improvements in production efficiencies. This would result in improved economic sustainability and quality of life for producers in the high-plains region. The training will be available to professionals from multiple agencies including those from the Cooperative Extension Service, and Natural Resource Conservation Service of Wyoming and neighboring states. Funding provided through this grant will be utilized to offset training expenses of the first 15 professionals registered. Dependent on demand, an additional 10 slots would be made available to later registrants who can cover their training expenses. The training will occur early in 2008 and provide a 2-day, in-depth, hands-on opportunity for educators to understand and use software so they will feel comfortable introducing and assisting producers in utilizing this tool. Training will be held at a site in central Wyoming and provide trainees with individual access to computers, complete course manuals, insights from industry experts, real-word experiences from a producer who has use the database, and teaching materials to facilitate distribution of information. The course will be evaluated immediately upon completion on its effectiveness on teaching the information to participants and six months following the training on the number of producers who have been given the software and its effectiveness. In addition to on-site training, the database and supporting materials created through this project will be made available on a web site and promoted to natural resource professionals from across the region, thus providing those unable to attend the training with access to these tools.
Project objectives from proposal:
The training will be offered to Cooperative Extension Service and Natural Resource Conservation Service professionals from Wyoming and the neighboring states. We have budgeted for 15 professionals from the region to attend the training. We feel that this group size will facilitate the in-depth training experience. It will allow attendees to receive the individualized attention needed that will best promote and support use of the program with producers from the region. If demand exceeds the slots allotted we will consider expansion of the training in a manner that will retain the effectiveness of the training while not compromising our budget.
Activities and Methods:
The two-day training will consist 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 will include a nationally renowned expert in the potential economic benefits of producers adopting a record management system and the participating producer offering his real-world experiences on implementing the database on his ranch. 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 will be created to facilitate information exchange, troubleshooting and coaching as the participants implement their educational efforts in the field.
Educational materials include a binder available to trainees with educational materials for their reference, access to a secure web site with software and tools available for educators, formation of collaborations between educators working on the project, an informal network of support through the e-mail list serve and increased knowledge and understanding of the WCCRMS. Reference educational material will include tools for educators to facilitate their work with producers. Powerpoint presentations, data collection forms, and examples of uses of the database will be included in this binder. Funding has been budgeted to produce 20 sets of resource material to provide extra sets for natural resource professionals unable to attend the training, but still interested in working with producers on the WCCRMS. The material will also be available on a web site allowing natural resource professionals from across the region access to the materials for their use.
Raise the knowledge and comfort level of natural resource professionals working across the region on the usefulness and operation of the WCCRMS. This will result in greater adoption of the database and a greater retention of producers who choose to use the database. 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.
Participants in the training will asked to evaluate the effectiveness of the training upon its completion. This will provide us with feedback and insight on our teaching methods and identify any areas requiring follow-up information or further training. Six months after the training participants will be asked to complete a survey on the number of producers they have worked with who have considered or are actually using the WCCRMS on their operation. The original Chapter 1 grant provides funds to survey the users of the WCCRMS. The survey of trainees reached through this project and evaluation will be paid for by the $200 budgeted in this proposal. The survey instruments will be created utilizing input from educators, UW specialists and the participating producer. The evaluation will be conducted by the project P.I. who has experience in creating and implementing effective evaluation.