In the US, workshops will be held in southern Alabama, and southern Georgia.
These regions are important sectors of southeastern agricultural production and contain unique characteristics (such as crop rotations) which require that the workshops be somewhat customized for each region.
US workshops will be scheduled for January or February of 2014 because this is the time of year which will allow for the greatest participation by county agents and specialists. To minimize travel expenses by project personnel, all three workshops will be scheduled within a few days of each other.
To further reduce costs, the workshops will be held at Auburn University facilities in Alabama and University of Georgia facilities in Georgia. Industry sponsors will be recruited to cover expenses of a noon meal for workshop participants. This is done routinely for extension field days and workshops.
US Workshop Content
The workshops will consist of 4 hours of classroom instruction in the morning, a 1-hour lunch break, and 1.5 hours of experiential learning. The last component will consist of hands-on equipment or technology demonstrations during which the classroom instruction will be reinforced.
The 4 hours of classroom instruction will be divided into two 2-hour blocks. One block will be dedicated to providing PA agronomic and technology information relevant to the production systems of each region/country. This information will be drawn and integrated from the ongoing PA research projects at the TAPAC universities. Trends and success stories from the US and EU (depending on where the workshop is being held) will also be discussed.
The second block will be dedicated to providing PA economic assessment tools and the knowledge required to use these tools. Project PIs will use economic data collected from producers partnering on various research projects to provide real-life examples. One of the graduate student thesis projects in agricultural economics will be to create on-line templates for determining the profitability of precision agriculture applications using the partial budget and net present value techniques. The templates will be the focus of the economics blocks during the workshops.
To further expose participating M.S. students to professionals on the opposite continent and to provide additional networking opportunities, students will be expected to present a summary of their ongoing work during one of the workshops. For example, an EU student at Auburn will be required to present a summary of his/her work during one of the Alabama workshops.
Specific content for the workshops will be developed in advance of the workshops and some content will be developed into joint extension publications, submitted for review through the appropriate channels, and distributed electronically. The project’s graduate students will be actively involved in developing the extension publications and workshop content.
All materials presented during the workshops will also be packaged as self-guided tutorials and posted to the TAPAC web page which is hosted by UGA. Funds are budgeted for a Media Specialist who will package and post the materials.