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NPR - Global And Local Market Analysis And Economic Outlook Seminars For Producers Utilizing The Internet As An Interactive Delivery System; An Innovative, Collaborative Approach To Deliver Risk Management Education For Agriculture Producers In The 21st C

The Rural Prosperity Risk Management Initiative was designed to deliver timely and relevant risk management information. Participants included producers, Extension educators, and agricultural community influencers consisting of lenders, input dealers, and agricultural commodity processors. The program was designed and delivered so producers could make sound risk management decisions; Extension educators and Ag. Influencers could help clients make good business decisions; and extremely limited Extension program delivery resources could be highly leveraged.

Changing commodity fundamentals, large speculative influences, and higher input costs have producers, Extension educators and agricultural community influencers scrambling for ways to increase agricultural prosperity and sustainability. The project utilized D. Merrill Ewert’s matrix of approaches to Extension work as a catalyst for change. The underlying theory is that Extension programs are most successful when they combine process (in this case Polycom technology and the Internet) and content (risk management education) instead of strictly one or the other. Beginning in 2006, this project utilized the Internet and other interactive communication tools to bring risk management education to over 275,000 participants consisting mostly of producers. Remote and on-site presentations were made in real time by agricultural economists and experts from many U.S. states and foreign countries. All remote presentations were live and completely interactive. Extension specialists from U.S. land grant universities, U.S. and foreign government agencies, and industry made presentations. Remote presentations originated from areas across the United States, South America and France. In addition to reaching more than 275,000 participants of which most were producers, the project saved over $281,000.00 in direct meeting costs, and increased net-farm profits by $5,166,099.31 as of December 2009. Evaluations via survey, focus groups, and personal contact show that the majority of participants are very accepting of this type of extension program delivery method and even preferred this type of Extension outreach experience over traditional methods.

Keywords: Innovative, Interactive, Collaborative, Leadership, Risk Management


Author(s): Roberts M.T. (1)

Organization(s): North Carolina State University (1)

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