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Abstract

Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) established areas of expertise (AOE) teams to deliver Extension programs in Michigan more effectively. Increasing the expertise of its staff members at the county level to meet the dynamic educational needs of its clients is important consideration of MSUE. The purpose of this paper is to study the Michigan livestock farmers' educational needs. A sample of Michigan farmers was surveyed in 1996 and 1999, utilizing a standard mail survey. Responses from Michigan livestock farmers were isolated from the database for this study. The study revealed general farm magazines, agricultural newspapers, Extension publication, printed materials from commercial firms and sales persons, and family and friends were primary source of information. Electronic information media and organizational events were not popular. Livestock farmers believed that the MSUE agents had a broad perspective of the farming business and they were not willing to pay a private consultant to help manage their farm/business. Information pertaining to specific topics such as business management, farm management, economics of farm operations, environmental protection, and agricultural marketing were found as important areas of educational needs. Livestock farmers who are 35 years or older and who do not have college education should be the target of these educational programs.

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