Welcome to the Fall 2020 Western Center Newsletter! Along with information on two funding opportunities for the Extension Risk Management Education (ERME) Competitive Grants program, this issue will focus on the leadership and education efforts provided by the Western Extension Committee – an organization of Extension Specialists (state, regional and county) from the 13 western states, Guam and the U.S. affiliated Pacific Islands.
A current project being undertaken by Western Extension Committee (WEC) members is Negotiation in Agriculture. A series of articles that highlight case studies/stories includes strategies for how best to prepare and manage negotiation. One of these articles “Preparing for Negotiation: Questions to Answer Before Meeting” (pdf) is included in this newsletter. A primary focus of this project is to make negotiations approachable for farm and ranch families who may be doing this for the first time. Online learning modules are under development, for use in conjunction with the article series. Kate Fuller at Montana State University and John Hewlett at the University of Wyoming are leading this project.
Another area of focus that WEC Specialists are engaged in, is the affect that COVID-19 has had on local and regional food markets. Kynda Curtis at Utah State University authors the next article “The Impact of COVID-19 on the US Food System”. In it she discusses market re-distribution, changes in consumer preference and the flexibility of local and regional food systems. More information on this topic can be found on the Marketing in Motion blog maintained by the author.
Ag In Uncertain Times (AIUT) is a webinar series that has helped producers, agricultural educators, and other agricultural professionals to address challenges in today’s agricultural economy. Over 100 live webinars have been recorded on a wide variety of topics during the past 11 years. Presentations include Farm Bill programs, the Food Safety Modernization Act, Farm and Financial Stress; Local Food Systems and Agricultural Tax Updates to name a few. Most recently, a webinar on USDA’s Food Box Program included a panel discussion with producers and farmers market and food hub representatives. These webinars can be accessed from the AG in Uncertain Times website. There is also the opportunity to view these webinars via several online platforms – Adobe Connect, YouTube, Facebook or Zoom.
The next AIUT webinar will take place on November 18, 2020 and will focus on Dairy Risk Management, including information on sign up for the Dairy Margin Coverage program which is open until December 11, 2020. The RMA Dairy Revenue Protection Program and Livestock Gross Margin will also be addressed. This information on the portfolio of dairy risk management tools will help producers with their sign-up decisions. Presenters in this webinar include Russ Tronstad – University of Arizona, Hernan Tejeda – University of Idaho and Ryan Larsen – Utah State University.
The Western Extension Committee continues to develop a portfolio of valuable agricultural education resources, materials, including publications and web articles. The WEC encourages participation from young/beginning and other interested Extension professionals for sharing ideas and solutions common to several or all states, with the goal of becoming more effective as Extension specialists through working together on projects and issues.