; Wisconsin Assessment Center for Dairy Farm Owners/Operators | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Wisconsin Assessment Center for Dairy Farm Owners/Operators

Jon Zander


For years, top Fortune 500 companies have been offering assessment centers for their managers. Ohio State University-Extension offers assessment centers for potential managers within Extension and for county board supervisors. 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 assessment center curriculum was developed, tested and implemented to help dairy farm managers understand their 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, priority setting, 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 43 dairy producers and agricultural professionals have participated in the complete assessment program. Evaluation results indicate a 62% change in managerial behavior. Modifications to the curriculum for other commodities are being considered.