University of Guam
The University of Guam conducted the New Tropical Island Farmer (NTIF) Risk Management Education Series focused on risk management for agricultural producers, and production/business support professionals. The 10-12 hours of curriculum was embedded in a series of ten or more farmer-focused 4-hour workshops. The workshops each had 2-hour blocks of financial and risk management topics combined with popular new farmer production curriculum. The workshops incorporated hands-on activities in tropical agricultural practices, to keep participant interest and retention high. The target audience included resource-challenged, beginning and small farmers, especially those who are U.S. Military Veterans or Chamorro Land Trust Commission (CLTC) agricultural lease holders or applicants.
The NTIF Series reached more than 85 unique producer participants. Workshop attendees learned about values identification, production philosophies and associated practices, resource identification/mapping, business planning, record generation, and enterprise budgets, all to reduce the risk of business failure.
As a result of this program, 6 CLTC participants reported increased knowledge of Chamorro Land Trust lease requirements, labor laws, and compliance issues; 39 had increased knowledge of farm plan writing and development; 32 reported increased knowledge of record keeping and records maintenance; 19 recorded increased knowledge of environmental regulations and 26 went to one-on-one business counseling sessions and/or got referrals to project collaborators.
“As a Soil and Water Conservation District Board member I found the Veteran and New Farmer workshop series to be valuable in different ways. Personally, It was great to learn how to develop a business plan and this was echoed by the participants who said they appreciated the tools learned because they needed to keep better tabs on their production costs as they seem to be losing money rather than making a profit.”
“The New and Veteran Farmer Program has opened a dialog between the University of Guam’s Cooperative Extension and potential farmers in the Veteran community. With over 40 Veterans that attended the classes with limited to no experience in farming or gardening, they are more proactive and have more interests in attending classes. After the completion of the classes, a group of 7 Veterans started to build gardens for Disabled Veterans. A highlight, was sharing knowledge and plants with a Blind Veteran; who eventually used the skills and knowledge as a therapeutic outlet. The classes not only exposed modern techniques and agriculture skills, it helped grow a community of like-minded individuals that help each other with agriculture issues and experiences.”