Program puts lessons into practice on farms

LOREBURN, Sask. — Larry Martin has a passion for education and agriculture so helping train farmers was a good fit for him.

Martin, an instructor with Agri-Food Management Excellence’s CTEAM program, started the course after learning of the need for more management training for farmers.

CTEAM involves four modules covering different areas of farm management. It looks at major trends in agriculture, best management practices and includes discussion and practice sessions.

“They’re given an assignment or they role play something so they’re actually applying what they’re learning,” said Martin.

“What also makes us different is a combination of tours, the practical application, and the fact that we move it around the country,” he said.

Lionel and Melody Ector, owners of Diefenbaker Seed Processing near Loreburn, Sask., took two of the courses in 2007. Lionel wanted Melody along so they could learn together.

“Larry is a very personable facilitator. I don’t know anyone that is as experienced, with his perspective and knowledge, doing the kind of work that he is doing,” Lionel said.

Between sessions, participants develop their own operations plan, which is presented and discussed by the group.

Lionel said the support received from Martin and his team was encouraging.

“They actually consult and help guide you in the various modules.”

Lionel said that although he and Melody were already doing most of the things Martin taught, it was good to have a refresher and be reminded that it is important.

The program was challenging for the Ectors, who have four children and two businesses.

“It was action packed. We were busy,” said Melody.

Offering the program away from the business made it easier.

“Away from the every day distractions, in a controlled environment, with friends, instructors or consultants, there is no better investment for the time or money,” said Lionel.

“When you’re there, you can concentrate,” Melody said.

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