Our Whole Farm Planning Training for Ag Educators program began this winter and we are pleased to report on initial results from the participants. This unique distance learning program is being funded by Western Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education (WSARE). We started in January with 40 agricultural educators and professionals throughout 12 western states and we just finished the Introduction to Whole Farm Planning course taught by Certified Educators Phil Metzger and Seth Wilner.
Here are the results.
Introduction to Whole Farm Planning Results
|Ability to develop a Whole Farm Goal
|Ability to integrate social, economic and environmental factors into your decisions
|Ability to identify needed systems and protocols to create a successful farm
|Ability to make complex on-farm decisions
% of Participants
|Partial completion of whole farm goal
|Satisfaction with Instructors
Participants also noted some of the following things they liked about the course:
“I have TOTALLY enjoyed this course and am eagerly looking forward to the next one.”
“The information was very useful and the instructors were excellent. Really appreciated their willingness to schedule extras time and comment on resubmitted assignments.”
“Overall I thought it was great and I look forward to continued conversation and interaction.”
“The webinars were excellent. Seth and Phil did a great job of giving the content via stories and personal experience which is always much easier to stay engaged with and retain.”
“This program was just right, well done, and if you wanted to put more time into it nobody is stopping you. The workbook was a wonderful addition and allowed one to easily go deeper. There is a lot of information in the manual, which meshed nicely with Internet-based training.”
“I learned a very well thought out process for assessing a farming operation and making smart decisions that move you in a direction you and all your management team want to go. It’s a very powerful process and it allows me to utilize all my disparate knowledge in a very structured and directed process that makes information easily available and apparent to my clients.”
“It helped me to see that brittle environments are more common in farming than I realized. I’m more aware of the systems and cycles and the concept of “holistic” than previously. It’s interesting to participate in the class with folks from different states/bioregions. I’m on the lookout for more indicators of ecosystem health, than before. It makes me look at client’s farm/production issues with “new eyes”. I attended a meeting on farming in the drought—what measures producers can take to survive this low water year—and I kept thinking “holistic management”!”
“I’m raving to friends and family about what I’m learning and practicing on them to the point of annoyance. The amount of information I’ve received and the “wider view” of the course are priceless.”
“I think the most useful things have been learning about the triple bottom line and incorporating that in to the decision making process on the farm. I will definitely look more at the whole picture when clients come in with questions.”
Dave is a member of the Faculty at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington where he teaches Sustainable Agriculture. Dave was the Education Director and Farm Manager at 21 Acres Sustainable Living Center in Woodinville, Washington. Prior to that, Dave was the Research and Outreach Coordinator for the Washington State University (WSU) Small Farms Program located in Puyallup, Washington. While at WSU his research focused on alternative nontoxic control of cabbage maggot and carrot rust fly, focusing on the strategic uses of bio-pesticides, cultural and mechanical control of insect pests.
Dave was born in Paterson, New Jersey and moved to South Carolina at the age of 17. He received his BS in Zoology and MS in Botany at Clemson University, and his PhD from Texas A&M University in Entomology with a focus on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Toxicology. Prior to coming to work for the WSU Small Farm Program, Dave was an Associate Professor of Biology at The University of Utah teaching Human Physiology, Entomology and biochemistry. Dave was a National Institute of Mental Health Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, working on Insect Developmental Neuroendocrinology.