Record Management Computer Database for Wyoming Cow-Calf Producers
Wyoming producers need an inexpensive, easy-to-understand, and highly flexible database to encourage record keeping and information use. A database available to all Wyoming producers through the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service (UW CES) would meet this need and bring with it the educational resources of the land-grant system.
The objective of developing a record management computer database for Wyoming cow-calf producers is to encourage record keeping, analysis of production and economic information, and integration of land-grant information to make economically sound and environmentally sustainable management decisions.
The database implementation will create significant, measurable impacts promoting the sustainability of family-size cow-calf operations. When a producer implements use of the database, current production and economic data will become clearly evident. This will be recorded as a starting point so it can be referred to as the producer makes management changes, thereby allowing the impact of the database to be easily measured and reported.
Producer knowledge: By placing UW CES in a role to answer technical questions regarding the database, relationships between producers and extension educators will be fostered and many teachable opportunities will be created. This relationship and information integrated within the database will result in producers adapting sustainable production practices endorsed by UW CES. Producers will also undergo a process of self-discovery when entering and analyzing their ranch data leading them to make decisions positively affecting the profitability of their operations. Producers who implement the database can be expected to generate annual performance records on their operations and improve their understanding of the main economic forces affecting the operation.
Information disseminated: Through cooperation with the UW CES Profitable and Sustainable Agriculture Systems Initiative Team, a web site will be developed as an information hub for Wyoming beef producers. This web site will house this database and supporting documents as well as resources currently available for beef producers. Training sessions on using the database will be advertised by local Extension Educators using methods they determine appropriate. A brochure and press release will be developed for the local educators to use in advertising the training workshops. Impacts from the implementation of the project will be disseminated in a brochure, UW CES fact sheet, poster and press release using the media, local UW CES offices, and professional meetings. The UW College of Agriculture Communications Office has also agreed to feature the database in the agriculture alumni publication and develop a statewide press release detailing how producers may participate. During the 3rd year of the project the principle investigator will travel to the Western Section of American Society of Animal Science meeting and present the findings and impact of the project also allowing the project findings to be published in the proceedings for the meeting.
Resources Impacted: During the initial three years of the project, it is estimated that 200 producers will fully implement the database and 500 producers will implement some portion of the program. Five producer trainings are currently scheduled with an anticipated attendance of 20 producers at each workshop. Thirty-two trainers are expected to be trained during the four train-the-trainer workshops, and each trainer is expected to gather at least 4 additional producers to implement the database. The number of participating producers is expected to grow in subsequent years following the initial implementation. Using the average size operation in Wyoming, this equals 1.8 million acres and 645,000 head of cattle likely to be affected by this project (Wyoming Agricultural Statistics, 2003).
Economic and quality of life impacts: A similar effort conducted by Texas A&M Cooperative Extension, in which producers are encouraged to keep records and make decisions based on these records, reported an average savings of $16,931 to each operation that implemented the program (McGrann and Richardson, 2003). Using this number as a base and only including the estimated 200 producers that will fully implement the database, the result would be an increase of $3.4 million in NET income to Wyoming’s producers and therefore into the Wyoming economy.
The database has continued to undergo field testing with a team of producers who are using the database and providing feedback to the PI on necessary improvements
An education and rollout effort has begun and is in full swing. Presentations have been given a number of times on the database, and promising numbers of producers are requesting the database to use it on their ranches.
Work continues with individual producers to help them use the database on their operations.
The database has been widely distributed to interested producers. Currently 75 copies of the database have been distributed to producers who have requested a copy.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
The database has proved beneficial to a large set of producers that have implemented the database on their operations.
Producers have been able to make better management decisions based upon outputs from the database
Beef Extension Specialist
University of Wyoming
PO Box 3354
Laramie, WY 82071-3354
Office Phone: 3077665541
445 N. Wheatland Hwy
Wheatland, WY 82201
Office Phone: 3073222020