Explore 'Mega Trends' In Agriculture March 28

Explore 'Mega Trends' In Agriculture March 28

ISU Extension specialists will update farmers with a look ahead, at March 28 meeting in Rockwell City. Also, a "financial skills coaching" course begins in April.

Our world of agriculture is influenced by many changing factors – climate, world economy and the food, feed, fuel discussions, to name a few. Iowa farmers, with Iowa State University Extension providing relevant university research, have met past challenges. At the workshop Mega Trends in Agriculture on March 28 in Rockwell City, ISU Extension specialists will update farmers with current research so they can position themselves for the next decade.

Explore 'Mega Trends' In Agriculture March 28

"At this workshop we'll share current information from university researchers to look at what is happening now and what is expected to happen," says Kris Kohl, ISU Extension ag engineer. "We'll explore the big picture of what is happening in agriculture, look at how the Corn Belt is going to grow and what actions farmers should consider now to be in a position to capitalize on the changes."

Information provided will help farmers position themselves for future

The program is planned for March 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Calhoun County Extension Office in Rockwell City. Program speakers include Chad Hart, ISU Extension and Outreach economist and grain marketing specialist; Tom Olsen, ISU Extension and Outreach farm management specialist; and Kohl.

The Mega Trends in Agriculture program will examine the following topics:
• The world economy and how Iowa fits in
• Ethanol oil and corn – the fight between feed, food and fuel
• The changing environment CO2 – friend or foe. Will Iowa be a winner or loser, and what can Iowa farmers do to be the winners?

The cost for the program is $30 per person or $40 per couple, which includes lunch. To register, call the Calhoun County Extension office at 712-297-8611. For more information, contact Kohl at 712-732-5056.

Financial coaching course to begin in April at five locations across Iowa

In other news from ISU Extension, "Sharpen Your Financial Coaching Skills" is a course designed for volunteers, clergy and others working in nonprofit groups and organizations who assist people with financial management concerns. The next course begins in April at five locations in Iowa.

Money worries are a major cause of stress for individuals who are living paycheck to paycheck, are in debt or are simply confused and unable to take control of their finances. People in these situations don't need a taskmaster to get their financial house in order, but they sure could use a coach.

"Sharpen Your Financial Coaching Skills" is a very helpful course if you are trying to help or assist people who have financial worries. The next course begins in April at five locations in Iowa.

"The course is geared to people who aren't financial professionals, but who find themselves working with individuals who need financial management help," says Brenda Schmitt, an ISU Extension family finance program specialist. "Financial coaching is about teaching and mentoring. You will learn how to provide guidance and motivation for tackling financial challenges — how to be a coach."

Just as important, Schmitt adds, "This course will help you recognize client situations that are and are not appropriate for a non-professional to address."

The five-week course combines two face-to-face sessions with three weeks of online learning. Participants will learn how to recognize the causes, complexity and associated stress of financial problems. They'll gain tools and strategies they can use to assist their clients with various financial problems. In addition, they'll apply coaching skills to typical financial situations facing their clients.

"Sharpen Your Financial Coaching Skills" will be taught by a local ISU Extension family finance program specialist and Patricia Swanson, an ISU Extension family finance state program specialist and Certified Financial Planner (CFP). The course fee is $60 and includes a book and other resources.

The kick-off session begins the second week of April 2012 at the ISU Extension offices in Waterloo, Urbandale, Muscatine, Carroll and Spirit Lake. Participants will receive an introduction to financial coaching and financial management strategies, a tool kit and information to log on to the online course.

The three-week online portion of the course begins the week of April 23, and participants may log in at their convenience. Each week a new topic will be introduced: communicating about money, tracking spending and understanding credit. "You'll have the opportunity to complete learning exercises and interact with the instructor and other participants via a weekly chat room and course email," says Schmitt.

The course will conclude with a face-to-face session the second week of May featuring community resources and role-playing of typical financial coaching scenarios.

For more information, contact any ISU Extension and Outreach county office
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