Mid-career diversified fruit, vegetable, and livestock producers requested interactive educational programs to build their skills in determining the cost of production for their enterprises. They further expressed a desire to build their skills in effective pricing strategies.
This project used an iterative approach to design a curriculum and pedagogy to meet the needs expressed above. An original curriculum was developed by a core team at UNH Cooperative Extension. A 25 person advisory group comprised of agricultural professionals (including farmers) reviewed and offered input. The curriculum was then modified by the UNH core team prior to the delivery of the first series, based on the feedback of the advisory group.
Four, five-hour sessions were held at two locations in New Hampshire. Sessions were evaluated for learning outcomes and effectiveness using end-of-session questionnaires. At the conclusion of each four-session series, a focus group was held to improve the curriculum and teaching methods.
Three months after the conclusion of the program, phone interviews were conducted to assess new farm management practices adopted, impacts, ?and suggestions for program improvements. Major on-farm changes and impacts included changes to: enterprise mixes on farms, pricing of products/services, implementation of market research, and record keeping, as well as adoption of cost of production analysis.