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Introduction

A horseman riding through a herd of cattle
By J. SHANNON  NEIBERGS – Director, Western Extension Risk Management Education Center

Welcome to this issue of our Fall Newsletter which highlights the release of the 2018 Extension Risk Management Education Competitive Grants program Request for Applications.  The ERME grant program provides funding to eligible public or private organizations with demonstrated experience in providing agricultural education to help producers in the Western region address evolving risk challenges.  Applications are encouraged across the range of agricultural risk. Information on understanding agricultural risk and the five major risk categories is available in the publication: Introduction to Risk Management (pdf). An archived webinar presentation (pdf) on the Western Center’s ERME Grant Program is available.

Each year through stakeholder input and regional agricultural risk analysis, the Western Center in collaboration with its Advisory Council identifies regional priorities to highlight emerging risks with the objective of soliciting applications targeting these risks. For 2018, three regional priorities have been identified: The increasing impact of climate variability on production and marketing risks; The increasing complexity of record keeping and the need to implement multi-objective integrated record keeping systems that provide required reporting and management information; And, risk management tools and information needed for farming and ranching operations seeking to increase the scale/size of their operation to meet their financial goals. The Request for Applications (pdf) provides detailed information for each of these regional priorities. As always, contact us at the Center if you have any questions on how your ideas and program objectives may be a good fit for Extension Risk Management Education’s (ERME) funding objectives.

As you design your project in response to this RFA and/or for existing projects engaged in delivery and reporting, the next article provides an overview of Performance Measures, using the Theory of Change as a tool to improve project planning, participation and evaluation. A performance measurement system is a methodology for strengthening and achieving long-term outcomes. It follows from the long used ERME project management approach of “beginning with the end in mind” to identify the desired long-term outcomes and then design project steps that lead to their achievement.  A Theory of Change logic links project activities to understanding how change actually happens and measures results across time. This approach can be used to validate the changes in condition (long term results) you want producers to achieve. Projects must be able to link their program objectives back to ERME’s overarching goal of helping farms and ranches achieve their economic viability goals which ultimately benefits their bottom line; and which points toward the significance or public value of the proposed project.