Kansas State University is now enrolling participants for the next Management, Analysis and Strategic Thinking class. The Web-based program, which begins Nov. 11-12, is open to all agricultural producers, says Alicia Goheen, MAST program coordinator. 

Ask Minnesota farmer Bruce Wichmann, who has participated in the Kansas State University program, why he signed up for the four-month, online course and he'll tell you that he wasn't sure what to expect.    

What he got, said Wichmann, was an array of resources, personal interaction with internationally known agricultural economists and the opportunity to discuss issues affecting his operation with others facing similar challenges.
Wichmann, who owns Greywolf Farms in Fairfax, Minn., was part of Kansas State´s 2007/2008 MAST program. The MAST program is open to agricultural producers throughout the United States who want to sharpen their management skills and plan for the future. 
While the program kicks off with a session on Kansas State´s Manhattan, Kan., campus, most of the learning is done at home through the Internet, Goheen says. Topics covered during the program include: Land Ownership and Leasing; Machinery Ownership and Leasing; Financial Analysis; Human Resources; Tax Management and Policy; Risk Management; and Marketing.
At the November orientation, class members will be introduced to the  MAST program´s online technology and will meet the MAST instructors and other participants.
"Participants then head home to begin working on the distance learning portion of MAST," Goheen says. "The nice part about this is that producers can work through the modules on their own schedule -- whether that´s before the work day gets started or in the evening when work and family activities are winding down."
The modules will be completed by Feb. 9-10, 2009, when participants gather again in Manhattan for a wrap-up and graduation.
Wichmann, who runs a 600-acre row crop operation, said it was helpful to discuss issues with class participants from Kansas and other states and the MAST instructors.
"One of our instructors was (risk-management specialist) Art Barnaby. He´d just come back from testifying in Washington, D.C. to a Senate ag panel," Wichmann said, adding that because of the small class size, he became well acquainted with MAST instructors.
For more information and registration materials, click here or contact Goheen
at 785-532-4434 or agoheen@agecon.ksu.edu.

Source: Kansas State University Research and Extension