UI Extension offers mentoring workshop series for farmers

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MOSCOW, Idaho — Helping experienced farmers become mentors to other farmers is the goal of a University of Idaho Extension workshop series.

The title of the workshop is, “Cultivating the Success of Beginning Farmers: Hosting Interns, Mentoring Beginning Farmers and Methods for Improving Your Mentoring Skills.”

The workshop series, offered in a four-part interactive webinar will take place on four Tuesday evenings beginning Jan. 30, from 6-7 p.m. PST. The other three sessions are Feb. 6, Feb. 20 and Feb. 27.

This Farmer Mentor training was developed for experienced farmers who may or may not already have a mentorship program in place and are looking for ways to improve their mentoring skills. Whatever the mentoring experience level, this training will provide practical steps and strategies for facilitating successful mentee relationships, and will be useful in a variety of different types of mentorship arrangements.

Jan. 29 is the registration deadline for the workshop series. Students will learn about:

n Assessing personal mentoring skills

n Different types of mentorship arrangements

n Developing your farm education plan

n Improving teaching skills

n How to interview and screen interns and mentees

n How to develop Learner Agreements

n Resolving conflicts

n Working with educational institutions and farm organizations

The course fee is $25. Some partial scholarships are available. More information and registration instructions are available online at http://www.cultivatingsuccess.org/farmer-mentor-training

This four-part webinar training is geared for established farmers in Idaho who have a desire to pass on their knowledge and skills to beginning farmers and ranchers, and would like to improve skills for teaching and sharing knowledge with an intern or student. Opportunities for mentoring beginning farmers can range from hosting on-farm or in the class workshops, phone consultations, formal internships, and more. With over 64 years of combined farming experience, our course farmer mentor instructors will guide participants on how to develop successful mentorship relationships that are beneficial for both the beginning farmer and the experienced farmer mentor. Participating farmer mentors will receive assistance with curriculum development. The Cultivating Success™ Farmer Mentor Program encourages beginning farmers and ranchers to work one-on-one with an experienced farmer mentor.

Two experienced Farmer Mentors, Diane Green and Melissa Lines, will lead the workshop series. Both farmers have been providing educational experiences to others through a variety of different types of mentorship programs over their farming careers. Their experience is supported with exercises and teaching materials to help launch experienced farmers into their next phase as a mentor.

“For a mentoring experience to be successful for YOU — it is important for you to consider the types of preparation required and whether you are up for putting in the time and effort required. It is also important for you to think ahead about some of the potential pitfalls of not being prepared. Taking this time to prepare will also benefit those who are hoping to learn from you” said Diane Green, a farmer with over 30 years of experience and also an experienced and farmer-mentor.

“We’re so excited to be able to offer this chance for experienced farmers to learn how to mentor and help develop other farmers!” said, Cultivating SuccessTM Idaho Director, Iris Mayes. “We want to reach all parts of our rural state so we are using a very accessible webinar format” she added.

A $506,122 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA-BFR 004835), expands a 15-year effort by the UI Extension Small Farms Program that has enrolled nearly 600 students across Idaho in the Cultivating Success training program.

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