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Families facing uncertainty in agriculture

Written by admin on October 5th, 2009

The current economic environment is creating difficult times for many farm and ranch families. The October Ag in Uncertain Times webinar series focuses on “Families facing uncertainty in agriculture”. The presenters for this series bring a wealth of experience and expertise in working with, or being part of, farm and ranch families and will share good practical help for working with farm and ranch families.

October 7: 90 minutes (9 AM Pacific, 10 AM Mountain, 11 AM Central, 12 noon, Eastern)
   Dave Goeller begins the series with an exploration of what we learned from working with farm and ranch families during the ag crises of the 80’s that we can apply today. What are the lessons that should be applied today and what is different going forward.
   Jay Gordon will identify the immediate issues dairy families are facing today because of some of the worst price/cost issues in some time.

October 14: 2 hours (9 AM Pacific, 10 AM Mountain, 11 AM Central, 12 noon, Eastern)
   Elaine Froese will explore roadblocks to effective communication and keys for families to communicate around tough issues. Communication, if it existed before a crises, is often the first thing to go when stress hits. Effective communication within the family unit is a critical component for successfully working through any crises.
   Jeff Tranel will discuss the interplay of family expenses and farm business finances and the additional problems these issues create in times of financial stress. He will touch on some of the keys to working though the family/business financial interchange and will recommend resources to help families tackle this issue.
   Michael Rosmann will cover behavioral health support to the agricultural population. He will provide some thoughts on the important emotional and mental health components of dealing with a financial crises and provide helps for those of us who are not mental health professionals in working with families caught in a financial bind.

October 20: 90 minutes (9 AM Pacific, 10 AM Mountain, 11 AM Central, 12 Noon, Eastern)
   Norm Dalsted and an attorney, both with several years of experience working with farm families on bankruptcy, will focus on bankruptcy issues.

October 21: 90 minutes This is the wrap up for the Families facing uncertainty in agriculture webinar series. (9 AM Pacific, 10 AM Mountain, 11 AM Central, 12 Noon, Eastern)
   Ruth Hambleton will present tools and techniques for the family business including suggestions on how to make assignments and carry out the business. She will also identify resources that ag professionals and families can turn to for assistance.
   Robert Fetsch will provide practical guidance for dealing with the emotional and health issues facing farm families caught in financial crises. He will discuss specific ideas and point to resources for helping families approach these tough issues. He will also discuss how best should one of us help a family we see in crises?

To Participate Live in the Webinars: (no pre-registration is required – first come – 500 seats available)
• Equipment you will need: A computer that has a set of speakers and a high speed internet connection (LAN, DSL/Cable Modem, High speed wireless).
• Web link used for the entire series:
• This web link opens a screen that has the “Enter as a Guest” option selected. Use this option and enter your name and then click on the “Enter Room” button.
• The start time for all webinars in this series is 9:00 am Pacific Daylight time. Please log on a few minutes early to view information about how to ask presenters questions and to make sure your audio is working.

Prior to the meeting date and time, test your computers ability to communicate with the system we will use. Visit the link at the right side of the screen “Test Your Internet Connectivity”. Follow the instructions provided.

Dave Goeller, an Extension Economist at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, began his Extension experience working with farm and ranch families during the ag crises of the 80’s. His work has focused since on assisting agricultural producers experiencing “financial difficulties” to work through their problems and evaluate their options, providing business succession and estate planning alternatives and transfer strategies for the “Ownership” generation, and assisting beginning farmers and ranchers develop a plan to enter the field of production agriculture.

Jay Gordon is Executive Director of the Washington State Dairy Federation and a dairy farmer.

Elaine Froese ( http://www.elainefroese.com/) is an expert in helping family businesses talk about tough issues. She’s a catalyst for courageous conversations for positive farm succession planning. Like many of her clients, Elaine is an active farmer and she watches the sky. Her common sense and down to earth style of communicating and asking hard questions is deeply appreciated by folks who find it hard to ask for help. Elaine also mediates for the Farm Debt Mediation Service.

Michael Rosmann is a clinical psychologist and the executive director of AgriWellness, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides behavioral health support to the agricultural population in seven upper Midwestern states. Dr. Rossman also works to address the behavioral health care needs of agricultural populations and communities and to provide education about these needs.

Jeff Tranel is an Agricultural and Business Management Economist with Colorado State University Extension and Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. His professional interests focus primarily in farm and family financial management, risk management, accounting and record keeping, income taxes, and water management. His involvment with farm families in financial stress began during the farm crises of the 80’s.

Norm Dalsted, Professor of Agricultural Economics, Colorado State University, has a number of years of experience helping families work through Chapter 11 and Chapter 12 reorganizations.

Ruth Hambleton, Founder of Annie’s Project and president of Annie’s Project—Education for Farm Women that is empowering farm women to be better business partners through networks and by managing and organizing critical information, retired after 30 plus years with University of Illinois Extension. She is a farmer’s daughter and married a farmer. Ruth and her husband of 31 years raised three children on a 40 acre hog, beef and hay farm. Ruth is working with her sister and two brothers to help their father manage his 320 acres of farmland in north central Illinois.

Robert Fetsch is an Extension Specialist and Professor in the Department of Human Development & Family Studies at Colorado State University and is the director of the Colorado AgrAbility Project. He was raised on a small dairy farm. He has been working with farm and ranch families to assist them in improving their communication skills since 1985.

The Ag in uncertain times . . . webinar series runs through December with
• Families facing uncertainty in agriculture, October 7, 14, 20, and 21
• Operating in risky environments, November 4, 11, and 18
• Pulling it all together: Managing Ag Enterprises in Uncertain times, December 2, 9, and 16

All webinars and slide presentations from the June and September series are available for viewing at http://www.farmmanagement.org/aginuncertaintimesenglish/. All slides presentations for the current series are posted on the day of the webinar on this same website.

For additional information email, westrme@wsu.edu or call 509-477-2196.


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