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Conference Name Evaluating the Effectiveness of Farm Financial Management Training in a Difficult Environment

Richard Trimble


During the summer of 2006, an in-depth, follow-up survey of all Farm Service Agency (FSA) Borrower Workshop participants was conducted. This presentation will share the survey results concerning the long-term usefulness of the workshops. These results indicate workshop participants gained pragmatic, useful, and profitable educational improvement. In addition, the presentation will relate the effectiveness of different management education teaching concepts and tools used during the workshops.
Since February 1995, University of Kentucky Farm Management Specialists have conducted 82 FSA Borrower Training Workshops reaching 1,004 farms involving over 1,500 producers and their families. Congressionally required participation, a substantial registration fee, and a grading requirement create initial obstacles to this educational effort. Most participants are unhappy about being there. The majority are there simply to satisfy a requirement for obtaining their FSA loan.
Initially, every effort is made to make participants feel welcome. All training materials required are provided (a nine-chapter notebook, pencils, highlighters, and calculators). All refreshments and lunches for the two-day training are provided. Workshop participants are actively involved throughout the training. This involvement provides an environment that puts them at ease and encourages learning.
Evaluations conducted at the end of each workshop suggest our efforts had been successful. Participants rated the materials provided, instructors, and the complete educational experience as being worthwhile. Ninety-seven percent indicated they would recommend the training to other farmers. The follow-up survey was conducted to determine if the farm financial management training had lasting value to participants.

Presentation Materials