The Tomorrow's Top Agriculture Producer (TTAP) program is an intensive 14-month curriculum designed to provide "career oriented" producers having less than 10 years of operational experience with the skills to complete a business plan and make more informed management decisions. The first TTAP class began in November 2002 and completed the formal training curriculum in January 2004. During the formal training, producers were taught concepts and skills related to: establishing and monitoring strategic, tactical, and operational goals, financial record-keeping, marketing plans, personnel management, legal and liability issues and evaluating production and management alternatives to current practices. Immediately following discussion of individual topics, producers completed the corresponding section of their written business plan. One innovative aspect of this program involved the follow-up participatory assistance provided to TTAP graduates through the TTAP mentor program. At the final training session, TTAP graduates were matched and introduced to a four person mentor committee charged with making on-site visits to the graduate's operation and assisting with the implementation of their business plans over a twelve month period. Mentor committees were comprised of experienced and compatible agricultural producers, agricultural lenders, and Texas Cooperative Extension specialists. The first TTAP mentor program followed the TTAP graduates through January 2005. This presentation will describe the development of the mentor program for agricultural producers and include post-program details regarding identification and recruitment of mentors, mentor training, expectations of participants and mentors, and participant evaluations of the program and suggestions for improvement in this type of participatory assistance.
|Conference||2005 National Extension Risk Management Education Conference|
|Presentation Type||60-Minute Concurrent|