NPR - Transferring Knowledge And Experience To Strenghten The Agricultural Industry: Step Up™ – A Mentorship Program For Canada’s Future Farm Managers
In the realm of knowledge transfer, our thoughts primarily turn to academic and scientific communities and the transfer of theoretical research into practical terms. And, while we have a solid appreciation for the importance of farm transfer and succession for the ongoing prosperity of the agricultural industry, oftentimes our sentiment is limited to matters pertaining to finance and legalities. However, in the agricultural context especially, knowledge transfer must also relate to the transfer of inherent knowledge and experience of one generation of farmers to the next. Intellectual capital must be placed in greater consideration in order for Canada’s future farmers to stand on the shoulders of giants – a foundation from which to secure Canada’s agricultural industry, and a platform from which to launch into continued prosperity and success. Young farmers and new entrants are the future of the Canadian agriculture industry. In order to succeed in knowledge transfer however, we must be conscious of the learning preferences and practices of the apprentice, in order to receive, apply and prosper from the knowledge gained - to ultimately change behaviour at the farm level. While we have succeeded in providing experiential learning in production techniques, we must also consider how we can embrace experiential learning to successfully transfer business management skills and best practices amongst the farming community. The success of any farm enterprise is directly related to the business-management skills of the farm manager. This paper focuses on Farm Management Canada’s STEP UP™ Mentorship program as an example of a practical approach to business skills development. STEP UP™ is an on-farm learning placement that matches experienced farmers with beginning, new, potential and transitioning farmers to learn critical aspects of farm business management in a hands-on setting.
Keywords: farm, management, succession, transition, education, Canada