Two critical characteristics necessary for success in today’s agricultural business environment are education and experience. In many traditional businesses, the use of mentors has proven successful in educating, training and establishing a succession plan for future managers. This type of program has rarely been used and applied to self-employed agricultural businesses.
Texas Cooperative Extension’s “Tomorrow’s Top Agricultural Producer (TTAP) Program” is a comprehensive and intensive agricultural business management training program. During a three year program, TTAP participants spend two years developing critical managerial skills that culminate in a detailed written business plan for their individual operation. Creating a written business plan provides the foundation for meeting the educational requirements necessary for success. The area of experience is addressed through a one year mentoring process in which TTAP graduates are matched with other agricultural managers and specialists. TTAP mentors are successful managers that are selected for their ability to provide useful perspective and approaches to relevant issues confronting the TTAP graduate’s operation.
The use of mentors is an approach that could be easily be used and adapted to complement any number of risk management training programs across the country. Over the course of the TTAP program’s five years, instructors have gained valuable insight into the merits and pitfalls of utilizing mentors to extend the education process. The intent of this presentation is to share those lessons learned regarding a mentor program so that other educators can consider its usefulness in improving their educational efforts.
|Conference||2007 National Extension Risk Management Education Conference|