“Ag in Uncertain Times”—A Multi-State Webinar Series on Economic Challenges for Ag Producers

Research Year: 
2009
Issue: 

The financial crisis that hit the United States in 2009 affected numerous sectors of the American economy, including agricultural enterprises. To present critical information to agricultural producers quickly, without requiring speakers or the audience to travel, a webinar was designed and presented through the Western Extension Committee, an organization of extension economists from the 13 western states, Guam and other Pacific Islands.

Description of Action: 

In 2009, the five-part webinar “Ag in Uncertain Times” featured 17 live, interactive 90-minute seminars on the following areas: operating in the face of uncertain credit; operating in the face of uncertain markets; families facing uncertainty in agriculture; operating in risky environments; and managing agricultural enterprises in uncertain times. More than 40 professionals and leading industry experts were accompanied by live audio, PowerPoints, videos and slides, with questions taken using a chat feature during each presentation. Software and hardware were provided through Montana State University, with numerous individuals nationwide participating in presenting and/or moderating discussions in June, September, October, November and December. Institutions providing personnel and resources included the University of Arizona; University of California Davis; Colorado State University; Montana State University; Western Center for Risk Management Education and Washington State University; University of Wyoming; and University of Minnesota Center for Farm Financial Management. The entire series of webinars remains available online as a resource for the agricultural industry and for extension educators to download and use as needed.

Impact: 

A pioneering effort, the “Ag in Uncertain Times” webinar drew widespread interest for each session offered during 2009. Between June and December, the time frame of the webinar series, the number of “unique” visitors to the site was 6,519, with 304,060 hits.
Participants ranged across the United States, with 55 percent from the western region; 26 from the central region; 9 percent from the northeast, 7 percent from the southeast, and 3 percent from areas outside the U.S. The audience included agricultural producers; agribusiness members; agricultural lenders; consultants; educators; and others. Praised as a unique, timely way to reach a wide audience simultaneously with a wealth of practical, expert information, the webinar was nominated for and received the 2010 Western Agricultural Economics Association Outstanding Extension Program Award, for Project.

Conact Name: 
Trent Teegerstrom
Contact E-mail: