Recognizing the need to take a more comprehensive approach to agricultural education, HasNa conducted its first Farm Extension Workers Training Program in 2006. Farm extension workers are integral members of agricultural development in southeastern Turkey.
The eleven participants were agricultural engineers who had previously been contracted by the Turkish government to identify problems that local farmers face in the region and advise them on how to solve such problems.
The objective of the training was to improve the farm extension workers’ professional capabilities and provide them with conflict resolution skills that would assist them in their professional and personal lives. The technical training was led by Dale Johnson, a farm extension specialist from the University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Topics included extension educational programming and evaluation techniques, implementing new teaching techniques, and how to plan farmer field days. Because the farm extension workers’ success centers on their ability to work effectively with and educate farmers, it is essential that they be able to resolve conflicts which will inevitably arise.
The conflict resolution training focused on improving communication skills which will help build trust between farmers and the extension workers.