A continuing education program that began at Kansas State University for agricultural producers and others has teamed with Oklahoma State University and the University of Nebraska to further enhance educational opportunities for its participants.
"The Management Analysis and Strategic Thinking Program has established a partnership between Kansas State, Oklahoma State and the University of Nebraska," said Kansas State-based MAST coordinator Alicia Goheen. "We´ve added collaborating faculty in Damona Doye - Oklahoma State Agricultural Economics, Rodney Jones - Oklahoma State Agricultural Economics and Bradley Lubben - University of Nebraska Agricultural Economics."

The program combines new information and decision-making tools with online distance learning to develop management skills in agricultural producers. By learning farm management tools and their applications, participants are better equipped to cast a vision for their businesses and to handle the challenges of doing business in agriculture, Goheen said.

Although there is an on-campus session to kick off the MAST program and another at its conclusion, most of the education is accomplished through online learning modules that participants work through from home at times most convenient for them. 

"MAST has been a highly effective program over the last seven years in providing participants with advanced agricultural and agribusiness management training," said David Lambert, head of Kansas State´s Department of Agricultural Economics. "A newly formed collaboration in 2010 joins agricultural economists from Kansas State University with colleagues from the University of Nebraska and Oklahoma State University.  Instructors from all three land grant universities will pool their talents in challenging MAST participants with a wide range of decision tools relevant to agricultural management, production, marketing, and finance."

Kansas State will be the host site of this year´s on-campus portion, and the distance portion of the program will continue to make it accessible no matter the geography or time constraint of participants, Goheen said.

The 2010-2011 MAST program begins Nov. 16-17 at Kansas State with an on- campus orientation session. Participants then work from home over the following weeks until the program ends with another on-campus session Feb. 22-23, 2011.  

The eight modules the program covers include Land Ownership and Leasing; Machinery Ownership and Leasing; Financial Analysis; Human Resources; Tax Management and Policy; Risk Management; Marketing; and an optional module that varies in content.
"MAST alumni are located in seven states and we´re excited to continue to teach the program nationally while equipping participants with relevant high-level management and strategic planning skills," Goheen said.

Throughout the distance portion of the program, faculty members at Kansas State, as well as collaborating faculty at Oklahoma State and Nebraska will be available to answer questions and help participants explore different areas that might help their businesses succeed. In addition, technical support is also available.

More information about the MAST program is available on the Web or by contacting Goheen at agoheen@agecon.ksu.edu or (785) 532-4434.

Source: Kansas State University