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Maximising the effect of financial management training by using extension team strengths and eliminating learning barriers

Ray Murphy, Glenn Bake, Graeme Busby, John Miller and Kevin Wilson

The DairyWise Extension Team, South East Queensland
Queensland Department of Primary Industries
Ray Murphy, QDPI, PO Box 102, Toowoomba Qld 4350.


From January to June 2000 the DPI DairyWise extension team identified a need and implemented training for 282 dairy farmers in South East Queensland to set up a financial management system that will enable them to cope with dairy deregulation and GST compliance.

Purpose of the poster

  • To encourage fellow extension officers to identify and concentrate on their strengths rather than try to do everything.
  • Share the strategies we used to overcoming learning barriers.

Using our strengths

The team identified its strengths as:

  • A knowledge of Farmbis funding arrangements
  • Expertise in adult education and computer cashbook training
  • A close relationship with the farmer clients

Rather than try to provide training themselves, the DairyWise team acted as a broker. Funding was obtained from Farmbis to provide a 90% subsidy on all the costs of running the training. Private trainers were sought and briefed on what was required. DairyWise developed a training package, organised a schedule of workshops and all logistics and utilised its close relationship with clients to encourage 43% of the target market to undertake training.

If the DairyWise team did not use external funds and trainers they would not have been able to meet this training demand and still fulfil its other extension roles.

Strategies to eliminate learning barriers

  • Workshops for beginners over a 2 – 3 month period to enhance learning
  • Farmers went home with all software, files, materials and knowledge ready to use
  • Farm visits by consultants were introduced which ironed out the on farm problems


Evaluating the training, the team found that computer ownership rose from 74% to 98%. More importantly the number of participants using the computers for financial management rose an outstanding 77% from 12% to 89%.

Conclusion & Educational Importance

Extension organisations often only view their own physical resources when they plan their activities. The DairyWise team is an example where an extension team viewed their knowledge as their greatest asset and used this knowledge to gather extra resources to achieve their goals.

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