The WFA combines analysis of physical and financial benchmarking data (through DairyBase) with on-farm observation and a structured discussion with the farm team covering the business objectives and management practices.
The course covers the process, and skills in approaching different farmer situations, financial analysis, report writing and action plans. Further information on the Whole Farm Assessment tool can be found on the NZIPIM website and the DairyNZ website.
Course facilitators and deliverers
The course will be facilitated by Paul Bird (DairyNZ), Simon Sankey (DairyNZ), Kate Sargeant (DairyNZ), and Charlotte Glass (AgriMagic).
Pre and post course homework tasks are given for the course. The pre-course homework needs to be completed prior to the course start date. The post-course homework should be completed within six weeks of completing the course. The exact due date will be provided at the training.
Some of the homework requires logging into an online platform. You will be given a username and password to access this site.
The course is targeted at consultants and extension agents with at least one year’s experience following graduation from an agricultural science degree or other relevant qualification. Participants should have technical knowledge in farm systems equivalent to the Dairy Farm Systems Certification Assessment Criteria, covering:
- Farm Financial Management
- Production Systems and Grazing Management
- Reproductive Performance, Growing Young Stock and Animal Evaluation
- Animal Health and Welfare
- Environmental Management
- Milking Cows
- Farm People Management and Health and Safety
The learning outcomes for this course are based on Section 9 of the Dairy Farm Systems Consultant Assessment Criteria.
On completion, participants will be able to:
- Explain the purpose, process and theory behind a Whole Farm Assessment
- Explain the Whole Farm Assessment process, its benefits and its suitability to farmers, and understand the context that it can be used in their consultancy business.
- Develop awareness and basic skills for adapting the Whole Farm Assessment approach to a range of client scenarios e.g. learning styles, values and experience.
- Facilitate the Whole Farm Assessment process, including pre-visit information gathering, pre-visit meeting with team members (if applicable), information gathering during the visit, post visit team meeting (if applicable), report writing, action plan, follow-up and evaluation.
- Use DairyBase (or equivalent benchmarking programme) to develop a summary of the business financial and physical position and performance.
- Use the process effectively to identify and prioritise 2-4 high priority issues/opportunities, including:
- Highlighting current performance and potential impact of change (tangible or intangible) associated with each issue
- Providing clear, specific recommendations/options in association with each key issue/opportunity, which closely align with the business goals, values, attitude, and skill level of the client and their team.
- Communicate assessment and conclusions via a well-structured report in line with the standards set out in the Dairy Farm Systems Certification marking sheet.
- Facilitate a SMART Action Plan which is: in a concise format for easy reference by the farmer; agreed with the farmer in a follow-up meeting; includes referral to appropriate specialists, training or resources; and is linked to key issues and recommendations addressed in the report.
- Develop a plan for on-going support for change and evaluation of the impact of that change.
- Complete reading and recorded presentations: The Whole Farm Assessment Manual; and the DairyBase Interpretation Manual
- Complete a quiz on interpretation of DairyBase
- Complete a short report on the interpretation of a DairyBase report for a case study farm
- Participate in an online forum (or phone hook-up) to discuss the DairyBase report and other pre-visit material for a case study farm.
- Discussion of the process, report and action plan preparation
- Discussion of pre-visit analysis for a case study farm
- Case study visit – group visits the case study farmer to complete a WFA questionnaire
- Post-visit assessment – identifying and prioritising the key issues to be addressed
- Presentation preparation – sub-groups prepare to present their assessment and recommendations for a key issue
- Presentations – groups present and discuss their assessment and recommendations with the case study farmer
- Reports – groups prepare the key elements of the report and action plan for the case study farmer
- Farmer types and situations – group discussion of the types of farmers consultants come across in their work and how they can be approached inside and outside the WFA context.
- Using the WFA process in your business.
Work with a farmer client to complete a Whole Farm Assessment and submit the report and Action Plan for assessment.
Note that a pass of >66% for the Whole Farm Assessment task will be credited towards the requirements for Dairy Farm Systems Certification.