Delmarva is known as the corn belt of the East Coast. Large commercial grain farms have formed over the years to feed Delmarva’s poultry industry. Since October 2006 feed grain commodities have experienced great fluctuations and uncertainties. These fluctuations have caused a ripple effect in the agriculture industry including increased crop input prices, rental rate increases, crop insurance audits and major grain marketing decisions. Many farmers have had to reevaluate their budgets, lease agreements, and marketing plans to manage these issues.
Risk management workshops were organized and implemented by a team of educators and specialists on the Eastern Shore because of these economic forces. In the past three years over 20 workshops have been held regionally to over 200 farmers and farm families. Workshops included: Surviving the Risk: A look at crop budgets, communication, lease agreements and more; Grain Marketing; Excel for Farm Businesses; Right Risk; Terrapin Couples Retreat: On the court and in the classroom. The goals of these workshops were to address timely risk management issues including the areas of financial, marketing and production risk.
As a result of the workshops, participant intentions include: 81% creating crop budgets, 77% increasing communication with landlord, 55% reviewing lease agreements, 92% having new resources and 60% writing and implementing a grain marketing plan. In follow up evaluations, participants have also created resumes. Farmers who had Excel training feel more comfortable with it and plan to implement spreadsheets in the next year.
|2010 National Women in Agriculture Educators Conference