Besides the RAMONES-PL project, LLKC is actively working in other capacity development programs, to improve quality of services through the training of advisors in specific, targeted areas to increase competency and skills.
The experience of these parallel activities gives an opportunity for our project to recursively update the competence framework and identify potential new themes and learning content for the RAMONES-PL online course. One of the good examples of LLKC activities that provides such synergistic opportunity is described below.
In the spring of this year, the Latvian Rural Advisory and Training Centre (hereinafter LLKC) launched a new measure “Consulting Services, Farm Management and Farm Support Services” to ensure a more successful training process for consultants and the acquisition of new knowledge.
The aim of the measure is to promote the training of consultants in order to increase their knowledge and capacity to improve the quality of advisory services in the agricultural and forestry sector, like an environment and climate, antimicrobial resistance, innovation, digitization and risk management.
The exchange of experience is planned in four areas of the sector - crop production, animal husbandry, economy and forestry, and it will continue until the autumn of 2024.
Consultants will be able to supplement their knowledge in 18 different study course topics, which include both theoretical and practical classes and which will be implemented both in Latvia and also abroad.
Other training organizations and service providers who meet the conditions of the final beneficiary can also participate in this training, for example, Institute of Horticulture, Forestry Services Cooperative Society "Our Forest" etc.
Valuable experience and knowledge gained in Sweden
The first consultant experience trip and training process took place from 27. to 29. April in Sweden and the topic was "Organic Livestock". In the training participated livestock consultants - experts from LLKC and regional consulting offices.
During the experience trip, the consultants gained knowledge about organic milk production, grazing and management, and cow grazing, as well as various scientific studies shared by both Växa consultants and Uppsala University professors.
Selection of participants
In order to select the participants of the study trip, was developed a special table of criteria. Participants were also asked to confirm the motivation section and answer the following:
1) Why would I need this training?
2) What do I want to gain from this training and how will I improve my skills and knowledge?
3) What will my clients get from the training?
By summing up the points and evaluating the results of the motivation points, 5 consultants were selected from 10 potential participant.
Lessons learned during the training
• Organic farms can also achieve high milk yields, but it is important to rethink how fodder is harvested. If good quality silage with a high protein content, low fiber content and excellent digestibility are available, then it is possible to reduce or even exclude protein concentrates from the ration.
• It is also possible to provide pasture on farms with milking robots, but it is necessary to analyze and rethink the movement of cows and set up pasture close enough to the enclosure.
• For high grass yields, lawns need to be cared for and properly managed, as only well-groomed grasslands will provide good silage and good quality pasture.
• In Sweden, much is thought about watering pastures, as summers get hotter and drier every year. Given that pastures are usually located closer to the barn, where space is limited, it is important that the lawn is productive. We also need to think about mowing pastures.
Returning from the 3-day training in Denmark, each livestock consultant has prepared a report and a training presentation on the experience gained in Sweden. It is planned that the acquired knowledge will be used both in daily work with farmers and in conducting classes with colleagues.
The training of consultants was provided for the Latvian Rural Development Program (RDP) investment measure 2014-2020. "Advisory services, farm management and farm support services" within the sub-measure "Support for training of advisers", Rural Support Service contract No. 10 2.1-20 / 21 / P16.