Friday, May 20, 2011

'Risk on the Farm' Educational Series

      Each year, the Small Farm Center conducts a Risk Management educational series presented to high school agricultural students/FFA chapters across the state. This spring the roster of schools includes East Hardy High School, Lincoln High School, Lincoln County High, and Hundred High School. In the fall, the Center’s staff will visit additional schools with the ‘Risk on the Farm’ lesson plan and game. The Center estimates that we will speak to approximately 250 ag students within the two-week series.
The Risk Management lesson covers the very essentials of what ‘risk on the farm’ can mean for a small farm operation. We also discuss various methods and tools of combating risk. The series drives student participation through class activities, teamwork, and discussion. During the activities, students are asked to identify different examples of risks by placing them in categories such as production, human, financial, market, legal, and technological risks. Students work together to decide which type of risk the examples are based on the lesson. Students also learn about the different methods of handling risk (retain, shift, reduce, self-insure, and avoid). Additional information is discussed on methods of shifting risk (insurance) and reducing risk.

Following the class activity, students are broken into groups of 4 and 5 students. There they play the ‘Risk on the Farm’ game. This game reinforces the basic concepts of risk assessment and planning. Students really enjoy the game and become more aware of business planning for a small farm operation. So far, teachers’ and students’ reactions are extremely positive both during the lesson and throughout the game-play.

For information on this year’s ‘Risk on the Farm’ Series and other risk management events by the West Virginia Extension Service Small Farm Center, please visit

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