FARMit Fills Educational Gaps in Farm Management
California Ag Today farm news director, Patrick Cavanaugh, learned about FARMit from expert Dan Whisenhunt, whose accomplishments include president and CEO at Agcom LLC, (An Agson Global, PVT, LTD Subsidiary); principal at Dan Whisenhunt Consulting, in Turlock; member of the Board of Directors for the California chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA); chair of the FARMit Education Committee (farm management); member of the Farm Management / Ag Consulting Education Committee on the national level of ASFMRA; and Accredited Agricultural Consultant (AAC) designee.
CalAgToday: What is the scope of FARMit?
Whisenhunt: FARMit is a 14 one-day course education package designed to fulfill the education gaps in California agriculture. We held some focus group meetings throughout the state to identify the education gap in farm management areas and then designed the courses to fulfill those gaps. Now, we are offering California agriculture in general; which teaches valuable soft-skills that can enrich a company’s culture and also improve employee performance.
CalAgToday: Can you give us an example of these gaps?
Whisenhunt: The education gaps are mostly in the farm management area—our main target. But we’re seeing those same education gaps in all areas of agriculture, from farm managers and leads in the field, to executive farm managers and lenders.
These courses are aimed at all of those markets to enrich [management] knowledge and enable them to be better employees for their company. The focus group meetings basically surveyed the attending farm managers to identify what education they think is lacking for their profession here in California. And really, nobody offers farm management education here in California, or across the country, other than the ASFMRA.
CalAgToday: Are the courses required to fulfill the farm manager education curriculum?
Whisenhunt: No, not unless you hold a certification, an accreditation, from ASFMRA. The accredited members, either farm managers or ag consultants, are required to have 30 hours of education every two years in their discipline. But, there are no requirements for farm managers, and this is a real advantage to those companies that choose to in their employees, particularly in the form of education, to enhance their employees’ effectiveness. They’re going to be able to better communicate with their coworkers, better communicate with their employees, do a better job—on the job, and ultimately, make more money for the company.
CalAgToday: ASFMRA is a national organization, so is FARMit national?
Whisenhunt: These classes were designed and developed by the California chapter, but we have offered them in other states. We’re getting requests.In fact, one of our members traveled to offer one of these classes to the Illinois chapter, and they’ve requested that we facilitate two more classes for them in July. And the Michigan chapter is requesting a class to be facilitated in September, so we’re offering these all over the country.
CalAgToday: That’s great.
Whisenhunt: Yes, our aim is to work with the national ASFMRA, based in Denver, to offer education to other chapters across the country, but this is primarily for the agriculture industry here in California.
CalAgToday: How do we find out more about FARMit?
Whisenhunt: You can go to our California Chapter ASFMRA website, or call our chapter office in Woodbridge CA, at 209-368-3672.
The California Chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, according to their website, was chartered in 1949 as an affiliate of the national organization. It is a non-profit mutual benefit corporation under California law.
Members of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers are uniquely qualified to meet the complex challenges of modern agriculture. ASFMRA is the nation’s premier organization of professionals who adhere to exceptionally high standards for education, ethics and performance in appraisal and management of agricultural properties, and consulting for agribusiness. The California Chapter is one of 38 chapters affiliated with the national organization.