Kathy Barrett - Sr. Extension Associate
Masters from Cornell UniversityAreas of Interest:
Dairy management and production educationProgram Area:
- Dairy Profit Discussion Groups
- Group Facilitation Training
- Dairy Education and Outreach
I provided leadership for the Dairy Profit Discussion Group program. Dairy Profit Discussion Groups are small groups of dairy producers, 10 to 15 farms, which meet to discuss business performance and the management practices. These groups are made up of producers that have similar management intent or production practices, and are based on mutual respect, trust, and confidentiality of each member.
Discussion groups emphasize the knowledge and experience of the farmers in the group. The group decides where, when and how often they meet. They also decided on the topics and activities the group engages in. Every group has a facilitator who keeps the group discussion on track and manages the group dynamics. The facilitator usually serves as the group’s administrator, providing communication between meetings and making arrangements. Agri-service professionals very often make excellent group facilitators, viewing it as another way to serve their clientele.
My past experience with producer-driven discussion groups suggests that farmer-to-farmer learning is an excellent way to promote enhanced business and production management practices. Their value comes from drawing on other farmers’ experiences to motivate participants to make changes back on the farm that impact profitability, productivity and quality of life.