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Measuring Impacts Of An Holistic Farm Business Management Training Program

This paper reports on the development of 4 new instruments to measure impacts of an extension program on farming family participants. A case study approach within an action research framework incorporating qualitative and quantitative domains was adopted to explore the impact on Queensland farmers of FutureProfit, a farm business management extension program. Two of these new measures, Management Constructs Change index and Management Objectives Change index, provided evidence of statistically significant changes in participant beliefs about, and attitudes towards farm business management. Although highly correlated with each other, these changes were unrelated statistically to any of seven other commonly used biographical or psychometric indices employed, including level of formal education. The third measure, the Bennett Change index, provided statistically significant evidence that attitudinal and behavioural changes were more frequent in participants with less formal education, but also more frequent in participants who had high urbanisation and self-directed learning index scores. A fourth measure, Values Domain Change, derived from the Management Objectives Change index, condensed objectives change data into values domain-oriented scales, and showed that attitudinal change occurred across a wide spectrum of the recognized human values domains. Several conclusions are drawn from these findings, chief of which is that the approach used has successfully quantified impressionistic data in a way that offers potential for other researchers to document program impacts in terms other than ‘hard quantitative measures such as changes in profitability.

Author(s): Cameron Donald (1), Chamala Shankariah ( 1)

Organization(s): School of Natural and Rural Systems Management University of Queensland (1)

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