Nearly any agricultural producer will say good management is key to a successful agricultural operation.

But good management is a skill, something learned through experience, and it takes time to master.

The award winning, online Western Integrated Resource Education (WIRE) course, developed by the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service (UW CES), is designed to help progressive ranchers and farmers become more innovative. The tactical management course, second of a three-part series, is available to help producers chart a course through today's changing environment.

In this WIRE course, participants learn how to assess enterprise performance, think tactically and set tactical objectives. Techniques for developing enterprise budgets, evaluating risk versus returns and benchmarking resource performance also are covered. By the end of the course, producers will have the tools to successfully plan for transforming their operations.

The overall WIRE experience teaches a concept of management that provides practical tools for integrating the physical, biological, financial and human resources of an agricultural operation.

"The WIRE course has been very helpful in my family's ranch operation. Because we try to market for the greatest profit, it helps to be able to fall back on the reference materials," said previous course participant Tana Stith. "My husband and I work full-time off the ranch and still have a full-time job when we come home at the end of the day. We need to cut all the corners that we can, and WIRE has been a great help."

WIRE emphasizes the whole management process--linking management objectives and available resources with on-the-ground management of an operation. The process begins by setting goals that can be linked with intermediate objectives. While this second course covers the tactical aspects of the management process, the other two courses cover the strategic and operational levels.

WIRE tactical management begins Jan. 14 and runs through Feb. 15, 2002. The next course in the series, operational management, will be offered in mid-February. For more information or to register, e-mail John Hewlett, UW CES farm and ranch specialist, at Hewlett@uwyo.edu, or visit the WIRE Website, at http://agecon.uwyo.edu/wire.

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