Motivating Farmers to Attend Worthwhile Extension Programs

The itinerant teacher will be expected to give as much thought to the economic side of agriculture as he gives to the matter of larger acreage yields.

Congressman A.F. Lever of South Carolina,
US House of Representatives Report No. 110
creating Cooperative Extension Work, 1914

There’s a lot to chew on in Congressman Lever’s statement. With the creation of Cooperative Extension, Congress intended for educators to be mobile, traveling to farmers for the purpose of teaching the most economical methods of distribution as well as the best methods of production. There was an expectation that thought be given to what amounts to a curriculum for farmers. Following from that is the expectation that thought be given to how to motivate farmers to engage in programs that provide value to their lives and livelihood.

You might think that there is an easy, single answer to what motivates farmers to engage in worthwhile Extension programs: Profit. However, there’s more to it than that. In fact, we may be inadvertently presenting programming in ways that actually lead to disengagement.
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High Farmland Prices – Low Farmland Rents

This month in Sustaining Farming on the Urban Fringe – High Farmland Value, Low Farmland Rent: Unintended Consequences, we explore how extraordinary high NJ cropland values became coupled with surprisingly low cost farmland rents. [Read more…]

Farming 7,500 acres by Cell Phone

This month in Sustaining Farming on the Urban Fringe:
First Generation Farmer of the Future – 7,500 acres conventional & organic cash grains by cell phone.

We dig deep into the nature of ag entrepreneurship, and how to profit using a non-judgmental approach to both conventional and organic production by supplying different markets. [Read more…]

Crisis Fatigue and Ag in the Middle

Crisis FatigueFor over a year we’ve been talking about creating a program that would help Ag in the Middle farms better cope with the special problems of farming on the urban fringe. What’s the rub?
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