Plans are nearly complete for the 2013-14 Lakeshore Technical College's Farm Business Program. The program has been a mainstay in Wisconsin agriculture for over 40 years. Several generations of producers have taken part in the Lakeshore Technical College adult continuing education programs. Each year one of five individual courses is offered. The focus this fall/winter will include transferring the farm assets and management to the next generation, interpersonal skills, employee management and creating a safe farm working environment. The new program starts in late October and runs through the end of June 2014.

The Farm Safety section has been added to the course offering for this year. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Labor, recently began dairy farm inspections in Wisconsin. Our goal in teaching farm safety will be to assist producers in making sure their farms are safe places to work and see that the dairy would pass an OSHA inspection.

We will also discuss other human resource policies and procedures along with goal setting and transition planning for the next generation.

Participants range in age from 18 to their later 50's with an average age of 30+. Both men and women participate. Enrolling students are employees on large dairies, many are the sons and daughters of the owners of their businesses, some are from Hispanic backgrounds and some are agriculture business professionals. The average size for those operating dairy farms in the program is just over 300 cows and 500 acres.

The program is delivered in a variety of methods. The discussion groups meet at several venues in rural communities. Farm tours are also part of the way the program is conducted. The classroom sessions are discussion based and focus on the challenges faced on today's farms. Classes meet ten times through the winter months or about every other week at the Boltonville Fire Station, Regional DRR office in Plymouth, Moraine Park Campus in Fond du Lac and the Pizza Ranch in Waupun. The class time is a combination of lecture, discussion, problem solving and application of what has been delivered.

Enrolled students also can attend the cutting edge seminar series. The Progressive Operators series are whole day seminars held at Lakeshore Technical College and are sponsored by the LTC Farm Business Program and the eastern Wisconsin Extension Service. The 2014 program will be titled "Would You Work For You". Topics for the Dec. 6, 2013 will include; business place culture, delegation, empowerment, the importance of standardizing procedures and employee training. Also on the first day, an immigration attorney will share the latest information related to congressional legislation and work visas. The January 31, 2014 day will entertain human resource issues such as motivating, retaining and facilitating good communications in your business.

New for the Farm Business Program in 2013-14 will be the Advanced Crop Course. The course will focus on in-depth topics related to corn and soybean production with some other topics such as forage production and small grains. Top industry, university and producer speakers will be utilized as resources for the class. The program is open to anyone who has completed the Lakeshore Farm Business Crops Program or is an experienced producer or a professional agronomist. Sessions will explore new approaches to tillage, crop fertility, nutrient management, and weed control but be flexible to address other topics the participants want to explore. The location for the sessions may rotate within the region LTC services. The course may also attend programs and field days in Wisconsin and other mid-west locations. Enrollment for the Advanced Crop Course will be held to the first 15 to sign up.

For information about these courses call Greg Booher at 920-960-0551 or email
Greg Booher, Lakeshore Technical College Instructor
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