Steve Amosson, Stanley Bevers, Jackie Smith,
Mark Waller, and Dean McCorkle
The Master Marketer Program combines three successful concepts: intensive education, the Master Volunteer, and marketing clubs. Producers are trained in advanced risk management and marketing techniques during an intensive 64 hour program and then extend that knowledge to other producers by providing leadership for marketing clubs.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service-Extension Economists piloted the Master Marketer Program in Amarillo during 1996. The success of that effort led to the statewide expansion of the program. Twenty-eight programs have been held since then in Amarillo (1996, 1999, 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2015), Lubbock (1997, 2000, 2003, and 2007), Vernon (1998, 2001, 2004, 2008, and 2014), Wharton (1997), Waco (1998 and 2011), Victoria (1999), Uvalde (2000), Abilene (2001 and 2016), Weslaco (2001), Kingsville (2002), Gainesville (2005), San Angelo (2009), Plainview (2012), and El Campo (2013). The intense demand for the program is evidenced by its return to Amarillo, Lubbock, Vernon, Waco, and Abilene. Whether it was due to the program’s reputation and results, or current economic conditions, those trainings filled weeks prior to the application deadline. To date, producers and agribusinessmen that have successfully completed the training tops 1200.
Graduates of the Master Marketer Program have started or revitalized over 100 marketing clubs across the state. Their efforts have been and will be critical in increasing marketing and management skills of a much larger number of producers.
Master Marketer has evolved beyond just the eight day training into a program that supports its graduate’s efforts to extend the technical expertise they have gained through the provision of human resources and educational materials. These resources reinforce, enhance, and improve the efficiency of the educational experience of the Master Marketer graduates and the marketing club participants. Annual follow-up conferences buttress key concepts learned in the program. The Risk Management Education Curriculum Guide is the most comprehensive educational resource of its kind. The Marketing Club Cookbook gives a blueprint to marketing club success for the graduate. The Master Marketer Newsletter keeps graduates well informed on the progress of the program. Finally, the Master Marketer Web Site pulls all these materials together and provides additional resources for the graduates and club participants alike. For more information on the Master Marketer Program and for a program schedule, please visit the menu on the side bar.
The impact of the program has been staggering. Graduates are surveyed 2 ½ years after graduation to determine the educational effectiveness and the bottom line impacts of the Master Marketer training program. Results from the first twenty-six classes indicate a major impact on the knowledge/understanding and adoption of a wide array of risk management/marketing tools covered in the program. As a result of these improvements, graduates from those first twenty-six classes indicate that, in average, they have increased their receipts by $35,000 annually*. If similar results extend across the subsequent two classes, the increase across all Master Marketer program graduates could exceed $25 million annually. This is still a only a portion of the program’s total impact. An assessment has been conducted to the financial impact on producers participating in the marketing clubs started by these volunteers, and results show an improvement of $12,362 per producer annually as a direct result of marketing club participation.
The Master Marketer Program is truly an Industry – Extension partnership. Without the initial grants received from the Texas Corn Producers Board and the Texas Wheat Producers Board, the Master Marketer Program would not exist. Their continued support through Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the addition of grants from the USDA-Risk Management Agency, Texas Farm Bureau, the Cotton State Support Committee, and Texas Grain Sorghum Producers Board as statewide sponsors enabled the program to develop across Texas. These “alliances” and the overall success of the program have been invaluable in leveraging funds from other sources. Industry partnerships have been critical in widening the Master Marketer education concept to reach audiences in allied industries. Those partnerships and others will be critical in maintaining, enhancing and expanding this highly successful effort.
The Master Marketer Program has been recognized as the top Extension program in the country in the area of economic training by the American Agricultural Economics Association (1998) and the USDA – Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (2000). Minnesota, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota among other states have initiated similar programs patterned after the Master Marketer Program.
*economic impacts updated November 2016*