Needs Identification and Response:
In today’s changing farm environment, dairy farm managers are required to take on more of a managerial role. To help these managers better assess their managerial strengths and weaknesses, a team of UW-Extension personnel designed the Management Assessment Center for Dairy Managers. The team consists of county agriculture agents and specialists from the Center for Dairy Profitability and UW-River Falls.
The assessment center curriculum was developed, tested and implemented to help dairy farm managers understand their own competency levels as they relate to selected managerial attributes. The attributes include communications, planning and organizing, leadership, decision making, managing resource, empathy, teamwork, initiative, and creativity.
Each assessment center includes a two-day program where producers participate in a series of activities which help assessors evaluate individual managerial strengths and areas needing improvement. These activities include group discussions, role playing, in-basket activities, personnel discussions and other business management simulations.
Following the program, producers are given a detailed individualized report and a personal consultation. This report analyzes their abilities, identifies areas for them to capitalize on as managers and suggests attribute areas they should consider developing further. A resource guide is provided that assists them in developing a plan for self improvement.
To date, five assessment centers have been offered and 44 dairy managers and agricultural professionals have participated in the assessment program. Evaluation results have been extremely encouraging and there is an increasing demand to modify the curriculum for other commodity groups as well.