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Risk Management Education Workshops Slated for Orchardists

PULLMAN, Wash. — Helping Washington orchardists survive today’s highly stressful financial environment is the goal of a series of workshops that will be offered January – March by educators and federal agencies.

Two-day workshops will be held in Yakima, Okanogan and Chelan to train families how to develop a plan for future success.

“The goal is for people to leave with an understanding of how to develop a framework and plan for their success in the future, whether they stay in the tree fruit business or not,” says Washington State University’s Jonathan Newkirk.

“People won’t be coming to listen to six hours of lecture each day. They will have hands-on work assignments that integrate both financial and human resource issues.,” he said.

The workshops are part of the Risk Management Education project for Pacific Northwest Orchard Families Project.

WSU Cooperative Extension, USDA Risk Management Agency and USDA Farm Services Agency professionals and a Wenatchee Valley College instructor are developing the workshop curriculum, which also will be published on paper and on the World Wide Web.

The curriculum and workshop agenda will integrate information on financial, orchard, and market analysis and management, family strengthening, personal health, marketing, managing production risks, goal setting and coping with change.

Participants will be able to develop a family business and finance plan that will be built around four questions.

  • Where are they? What is their current situation? An analysis of family and business finances, communication skills and experience, family strengths, quality of life, health, management skills, production risks, labor supply, and orchard resources will be developed.
  • Where do they want to be?
  • How will they get there?
  • How will they know when they’ve arrived?

Each workshop will cover two full-day sessions, on two Saturdays so each adult decision maker in the family can participate.

The first workshop will be held in Yakima, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Jan. 20 and 27. The second will be in Okanogan, Feb. 10 and 17. The final workshop will be held in Chelan, Feb. 24 and March 10.

Additional workshops will be held in Oregon and Idaho late next fall. The USDA Risk Management Agency is providing $21,000 in funding. Farm Services Agency is providing $20,000 and WSU Cooperative Extension, the Wenatchee Valley College, USDA RMA and FSA are providing personnel and other support.

Each workshop will cost $10 per person, including two lunches. To register, send a $10 check, payable to WSU Cooperative Extension, to PO Box 550, Waterville, WA 98858.

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