Agriservice professionals play a key role in disseminating information to dairy producers. As farmers implement management practices and appropriate technology they turn to agriservice professionals for information and advice. The DairyFAST program provides a cohesive professional development program for agriservice professionals to enable them to have a positive impact on their farm clientele.
Cornell Agriculture, Food and Environmental Systems In-service Program
I have provided leadership for the Cornell Cooperative Extension Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Systems In-Service dairy track since 2012. This in-service offers Extension educators the opportunity to come to the Cornell campus to increase their knowledge base, build on their programming skills and network with their peers and Cornell faculty and staff. The program emphasis is on providing the educators the kind of training they can use back on their counties to implement effective programs for their dairy constituents. Instruction runs the gamut from cutting edge research to practical program planning and implementation. The opportunity to network with colleagues has resulted in the implementation of programs that are rigorous in content and yet still accessible to the intended audience. To accomplish the goals of the in-service program educators spend 3 days on campus attending workshops, lectures, demonstrations and off campus programs. They have the opportunity to attend approximately 10 different dairy related sessions. Each session is designed with the previously sought input of the educators. Evaluations are conducted at the conclusion of each in-service program. Evaluation results are used to provide direction for program focus for future in-service programs and improve the experience for attendees. Although the majority of the attendees of the in-service are extension educators, graduate students, and agribusiness people participate regularly as well.
Dairy Management Online Courses
Workforce development is crucial to the success of the dairy industry and rural communities. Lack of access and time constraints limit educational opportunities available to these audiences. Online programs offer a distinct opening to address these challenges. On farm access to technology and high speed internet is increasing. To that end we have developed and offered an online Dairy Cattle Reproductive Management class. This course was offered entirely online over a 7 week period. 53 participants enrolled in the course with 85% full completion rate which is excellent for online courses. It provides farmers and farm employees the opportunity to receive high quality education on a flexible timeline and without the necessity for travel. This is a more rigorous program then is usually offered via extension efforts. The self-paced format of the course allows for this. The response to the course has been very positive. A transition cow management course has been developed with a similar format. It will be offered in April and May of 2018.
Spanish Dairy Management Webinar Series
This program delivers dairy cow management education for farmers and employees in Spanish.
Thursday Dairy Update Weekly Webinar series
This program provides producers and agri-service people weekly updates on current dairy production research. Best management strategies that increase farm profitability and quality of life are presented. The use of online technology enables farmers to efficiently access to this information.
As regional extension staff has decreased the need to efficiently and effectively use staff time and resources has increased. Sharing successful programs across the region offers an opportunity to reach more producers with the limited staff available.
The Shared Regional Dairy Program effort facilitates the implementation of highly effective programs that are developed in one area to be offered across the State. A small group of dairy specialists met and are piloting this effort. Four short courses have been offered to date with 202 participants.
Effective use of the business and production management tools is a major barrier to profit and production growth of dairy farms in New York. The focus of this project is to create a new program designed to promote more effective use of these tools and enhancement of the dairy industry in New York through the creation of a number of discussion groups that represent the diversity in both geography and production management system that characterizes the New York dairy industry. Agribusiness professionals and extension educators have been recruited as group coordinators and have formed dairy farmer discussion groups that self-identify specific goals for their groups that are consistent with the overall goals for their farms.
M.A.T. Agricultural Education, Cornell University - 1987