Piojo Ranch Open Gate on the Old Santa Fe Trail Recap

down-the-Santa-Fe-Trail

The cloud cover over Piojo Ranch on July 17th kept temperatures unusually comfortable for a summer Open Gate – HMI’s first in New Mexico this year.

Holistic Management practices promote wildlife habitat

Elk at Piojo Ranch

Instead of walking alongside a covered wagon as the pioneers did, participants rode atop hay bales on a flatbed down the Old Santa Fe Trail, remnants of which are still seen today in the swales created long ago by the wagon wheels of Westward expansion.  The elk herd that has established breeding grounds at Piojo Ranch also entertained participants, especially when a curious youngster ventured closer to investigate the strange new ‘herd” of visitors on “his” land.

Bio monitoring exercise in the uplands

Bio monitoring exercise

From the rocky hilltop overlooking the Mora River valley, Ranch Manager Clint Hoss and Kirk Gadzia, Holistic Management Certified Educator, gave an overview of Piojo Ranch.  The 35 attendees, including many with extensive knowledge and experience in soils, plants, and land conservation, teamed up in small groups to monitor the loamy upland area of the ranch. The discussion was rich with learning and sharing as participants evaluated the area using the Bullseye! monitoring method developed by Kirk, observing animal and plant diversity including the horned toad, jackrabbits and cottontails, caterpillars, and a diverse sward of grasses and forbs including: blue grama, galleta, sand muhly, flax, globemallow, side-oats grama, fringed sage, and curly cup gumweed.

Other highlights of the ranch tour included:

  • The herd

    The herd

    A stop to view the pivot and K-line irrigation systems with Clint discussing the different irrigation methods on the ranch and his monitoring process to determine the most effective strategies

  • A drive near the Mora River to view the lush riparian area that creates a breeding site for the Blue Heron
  • A visit to the mostly Red Angus cattle herd, including a discussion about genetics, birth ease, and grazing plans to keep the cattle on prime nutrition through finishing

After lunch presentations included:

  • Brenda Simpson, NRCS Rangeland specialist, presented a rainfall simulation demo, highlighting the value of soil biology in enhancing soil health and improving water infiltration
  • Dan Bloedel, NRCS Resource Conservationist performed a slake aggregation demo
  • Clint displayed his Holistic Planned Grazing charts that show how he is able to manage finishing beef on the highest quality grass year round. This complex process incorporates shifting numbers of cattle, changing weather, irrigation and overseeding, and supplementing with fodder (sprouts) and hay as necessary during the worst of the winter
  • Lynn Locatelli, a renowned expert who travels internationally to teach low-stress livestock handling, presented the start (even pre-calving!) to finish methods used at Piojo Ranch to gently manage the cattle herd for optimal performance and product quality
  • La Montanita Co-op Operations Manager Bob Tero and Rick Kingsbury from Panorama Meats shared their programs for natural and organic grassfed beef, and how they work with beef producers to provide for market demand of clean, healthy beef

Thanks to the Thornburg Foundation for making this event possible, and to our sponsor, the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union as well as other supporters: La Montanita Co-op, NM NRCS, Panorama Meat, and the folks at Piojo Ranch.

Here’s what participants had to say:

“Time well spent with like-minded and great folks.”
“Different perspective. Learned a lot about cattle that I need to know.”
“It was a good introduction to some broad concepts – follow up seminars to expand on information would be excellent.”
“Great overview of grassfed/grassfinish beef and organic. Great demos and natural resources qualitative analysis.”
“Outstanding!”
“Very informative.”
“Excellent – ranch was amazing, learned about forbs and recognizing different range plants.”

Results

Here are some of the specific results we collected from our post-program evaluations. The 35 participants manage approximately 10,705 acres.

Outcome% Participants
Overall Satisfaction of this event (Rated good to excellent)100%
Intend to change management practices or apply ideas learned at this event 82%
Expanded network by meeting new people or learning about resources available 100%
Intend to learn more about Holistic Planned Grazing as a result of today’s event 100%
intend to complete biological monitoring on your land as a result of today’s event 73%
Expand your network today by meeting new people or learning about resources available to you100%
Recommend this event to others100%

Organic & Less Water – Let Barking Cat Farm Show You How

hugelkulture-rect-for-web

Minimizing Water Use in Organic Farming

Betsy Ross, Barking Cat Farm owners Kim Martin & Laurie Bostic and HMI join forces to discuss how to transcend “plain as dirt” into flourishing organic permaculture – and with less water than you might expect!

Our Barking Cat Farm Day is part of HMI’s Open Gate Learning Series. Open Gates are peer-to-peer action-based learning days with short presentations and small group exercises geared for participants to share discoveries and management techniques with guidance from experienced facilitators and producers.

Whether you are an agricultural producer, permaculture fan or just interested in farming, land stewardship and healthy food, this is a day for you.

  • See what fellow farmers are doing to maintain land health and profitability in a changing environment
  • Learn how to aid water and nutrient cycles with good farming practices
  • Discover indicators of good soil health and practice how to take a soil sample
  • Better understand what the roots and the weeds reveal about the soil
  • Develop skills to monitor land health to help ensure desired outcomes
  • Explore the connections between soil health and nutrition
  • Hear how Holistic Management enables producers to better manage risk, make better decisions and enjoy the benefits of sustainable agriculture

Open Gate: Barking Cat Farm Day
West Tawakoni, TX (near Dallas)
Sept. 12, 2015

For more details and to register, click here.

Sponsorship opportunities are available.

1,836 is the new 330

2015 MA Beginning Women Farmer Class

According to the latest agricultural census – out in 2012, the number of farmers and ranchers leaving their land weekly has jumped from 330 a week to an astonishing 1,836; a 550% increase!

2015 MA Beginning Women Farmer Class

2015 MA Beginning Women Farmer Class

In 2009, to help address the growing severity of farm/ranch loss in the U.S., HMI began our Beginning Farmers & Ranchers Women in the Northeast Program in six northeastern states; New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine Massachusetts, and Connecticut.  Texas was added to the program in 2012.  The program is designed to train new farmers – the most vulnerable to failure, in the Holistic Management Whole Farm/Ranch Planning System, which helps families integrate economic, social, and ecological factors into their management decisions, while improving land health and water quality on farms, strengthening healthy, safe food production, and building a community of farmers and ranchers that are sustainable, successful, and profitable.

MA Beginning Women Farmers learning about soil fertility

MA Beginning Women Farmers learning about soil fertility

We are happy to report that in 2012, the states participating in the Beginning Women Farmer program saw a combined increase of 6,916 farmers and ranchers.

The news is not that good elsewhere, with states like Illinois, Iowa, and California experiencing a huge loss in the number of farms and ranches.  These new numbers make it clear that more needs to be done to stem the exodus that has continued in farming and ranching communities across the country.

 

 

Open Gate: Avila Valley Barn Day Recap

IMG_2217.small

On July 13th a small but engaged group of 13 producers and educators met to learn about Holistic Management and the Avila Valley Barn business. The weather was perfect and the setting was excellent. The Smith family, owners/proprietors of this unique establishment, was there to host the group and provide for any needs.

IMG_2217.smallThe day started with a brief overview of how the business got to its current status. Debbie Smith shared a very interesting progression from a simple roadside farm stand to a business today that not only sells the produce from the ranch, but has a deli, further processed foods, hay rides, pony rides, various farm animals for young visitors to enjoy, wedding venue, and more. It has become quite complex and therefore, Holistic Management offers some great help in making decisions.

Raven and Jake Lukehart-Smith (Jake is Debbie’s son) then explained how Holistic Management was changing the way that decisions were being made on the place. Both Raven and Jake are about to enter training to become Holistic Management Certified Educators. Jake does the farming. Raven handles a lot of the animal related agro-tourism business. Together, they are coordinating with neighboring ranches who supply some of the produce (mostly apples) that are then sold in raw or further processed form (think pies!!). Both Raven and Jake pointed out that having a way to sit down with the family to make decisions for this complex operation is a real powerful tool. Raven took the Holistic Management class taught by Rob Rutherford when she was an undergrad – which provided the impetus to pursue the Certified Educator program. She is currently teaching classes at Cal Poly as a lecturer in the Horticulture and Crop Science department and pursuing her Master’s degree.

Rob Rutherford then gave a brief overview of Holistic Management followed by Craig McMillan who lectures in the Viticulture and Horticulture departments at Cal Poly. He gave a brief overview of systems thinking.

IMG_2214.smallAfter a wonderful lunch prepared by the deli there at the Avila Valley Barn, the group proceeded to look at ecosystem process function at three different sites. One was an area that had been cover-cropped and then grazed by cattle. The second was in the apple and peach orchard where drip irrigation was being used to water the trees. The inter-rows had been grazed by Raven’s horses. It looked great! Finally, we looked at an irrigated pasture that was being grazed by the horses using portable fence to regulate stock density. At each site, participants “graded” the four ecosystem processes from “A” to “F” and then shared results and discussed the potential at each site.

Finally, to conclude the day, a decision-making exercise was conducted. Jake and Raven distributed their holistic goal and then an example of a decision that they had previously made (whether to graze the horses on irrigated pasture). Following that, a current issue was being considered (whether to add hard cider to the mix of products to be sold) by Avila Valley Barn. Groups of two each went through the decision tests to come up with a response—it passed!

On-site feedback for the event was very good. A hearty “Thank You!” goes to our hosts Avila Valley Farm and to our sponsor, Sallie Calhoun – The Christiano Family Fund, an advised fund of the Community Foundation for Benito County.

The 13 participants represent just over 200 acres under management. Here is what they had to say:

“I liked ability to ask questions & hands on experience.”

“Very positive. Well run and informative.”

“Very good lecturers! Loved Jake & Raven’s case study examples.”

“Excellent coverage of material and practical examples.”

“Loved the venue & the people were outstanding.”

“Great!”

“Awesome.”

Outcome% Participants
Overall Satisfaction of this event (Rated good to excellent)100%
Confidence in ability to make decisions holistically92%
Confidence in ability to assess ecosystem process effectiveness85%
Increased knowledge of How to use Holistic Management to grow a business100%
intend to change any management practices/apply ideas you learned as a result of this event85%
Expand your network today by meeting new people or learning about resources available to you100%
Recommend this event to others100%

2015 Connecticut Beginning Women Farmer Report

 

2015 CT Beginning Women Farmer Class

2015 CT Beginning Women Farmer Class

 

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number Grant #2012-49400-19673 funded HMI’s 2015 Beginning Farmers & Ranchers: Women in the NE & Texas program. We recently completed evaluation of the Connecticut program which was coordinated by Deb Legge and Sherry Simpson through Connecticut Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA). Lead instructor for this program was Sherry Simpson. Mentors for the program were Allyson Angelini, Phoebe Browning, and Art Talmadge. There was 96% average satisfaction rating for all sessions and 100% of the participants noted they had increased their network as a result of the training. Thanks to the USDA/NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development program for their support of this program.

Here’s what we’ve learned from our 16 Connecticut participants, of which 13 graduated from the program:

Participant Demographic Information

Of the 12 participants responding

  • 11 are currently farming
  • The average years of farming was 3 years (range: 1 to 5 years)
  • The average acres under production was 5 acres under production for a total of 55 acres influenced
  • The total customers of all participants: Retail – Average 54 (total 324); Wholesale – Average 45 (total 45)
Connecticut Beginning Women Farmer class on farm visit

Connecticut Beginning Women Farmer class on farm visit

 

When asked about the effect of this program or what was helpful about the program, participants responded

I’m confident production will increase and my land will be healthier

Learning from other people’s experience it helps to avoid the mistakes, change and improve the way I did before.

Reinforced importance of community – I am actively seeking our community relationships.

New BWF friends have been supportive, sharing ideas & resources, providing expertise & guidance.

More effective in communication, this leads to easier approach to reading consensus and focus on implementation of the plans

I have loved the whole process – meeting fellow farmers, making my holistic goal, planning, and visiting.

Be prepared, making plans that helps to predict the outcome for the future year.

Confidence. A different way of looking at the land (holistically) & I can’t put enough value to creating my holistic goal

HMI has taught me how to ID, address and monitor problems in my farm business

I now have tools that will help me to evaluate & adapt/change/improve what I do & learn every year!

It has helped me focus on a future that will be fulfilling and recognize and realize all my goals, not just the financial ones. It has given me tools to really ground my decision making and ways to think about and frame issues & problems creatively.

It has helped to clarify my goals and reasons for them. It has provided me with a ton of useful information as well as clarified problem areas I had (such as time management issues). It has really boosted my self-confidence, especially because of going through this training with other women in my situation.             

This training reinforces my belief in farming as a sustainable lifestyle that is beneficial not only to my immediate family but to the environment and the community as well. It relieves the anxiety of “fear of failure” as a beginning farmer and confidence and concrete business skills at the beginning stage.

Has been huge! Have gone from a pipe dream to actual production. I also feel several of the topics – especially holistic goal, weak link, & time management are life skill even if I’m not farming.

This was an incredible process!! The value of this goes beyond quantifying. It was well worth my time & effort & resources spent!

Very knowledgeable instructors who always have useful information and answers for beginner farmers’ questions.

It was very worthwhile. My approach to farming is changed in ways I would not have imagined. Excellent content.

I loved it! All the information covered was relevant and presented in an interesting way. The instructor, Sherry Simpson, was excellent and very supportive and cheerful. I’m so glad I took this course! Thank you!

 

PARTICIPANT BEHAVIOR CHANGE/COMPLETED PLANS % of participants
Holistic Goal/Whole Farm Plan 100%
Financial Plan 100%
Business Plan 92%
Marketing Plan 90%
Land Plan 40%
Biological Monitoring 70%
Grazing Plan (grazers in group) 100%
Forge Relationships That Positively Impacted You 100%

 

 

Key Post-Program Results % Participants ExperiencingChange
Satisfaction with Quality of Life 73%
Satisfaction with Communication 70%
Satisfaction with Time Management 91%

 

Session Satisfaction Class Percent rated good or excellent
Goalsetting 100%
On-Farm Decision Making 93%
Financial Planning Overview 100%
Enterprise Analysis 100%
Marketing Planning 93%
Business Planning 100%
Leadership & Communication 100%
Land Planning 100%
Grazing Planning 100%
Biological Monitoring/Soil Fertility 73%

 

Post-Program Impacts Percent of Participants
Human Resources
Clearer sense of what your farm is managing towards 100%
Better Ability to Determine Resources Available to You 75%
More Efficient Use of Resources 75%
Improved Communications on the Farm 67%
Improved Decision Making 92%
New Policies and Systems Implemented 75%
Better Relationships 75%
Financial Resources
Ability to Identify Business Challenges from Previous Years 75%
New or Improved Record Keeping Systems 92%
Enhanced Understanding of Your Farm Finances 83%
Changes in Farm Enterprises 67%
Changes in How Your Prioritize Expenses 75%
Clearer Sense of How Your Business Is Projected to Grow in Future Years 75%
Improved Ability to Articulate Goals and Objectives of Business to Others 83%
Improved Understanding of your Market and How Your Business Fits In 83%
New Business Systems (Improved Understanding of your Market and How Your Business Fits into These) 50%
Prioritized investments 42%
Greater efficiencies realized 50%
Improved ability to determine most effective enterprises 100%
New enterprises or products (including value-added) you are selling 58%
New ways of displaying or packaging product 58%
Improved ability to discern most appropriate market channels 83%
New markets you have entered 50%
Improved ability to effectively market products 75%
New marketing methods you have employed 58%
Natural Resources
Improved Ability to Incorporate Social, Environmental, and Financial into Your Land Plan 58%
Achievement of Environmental Goals in Your Land Plan 50%
Increased Forage Production 50%
Reduction in Feed Costs 50%
Improved Environmental Conditions 75%
Improved Herd Health 25%
Improved Ability to Manage Animals 50%
Less Stress for Farmers 75%
Less Stress for Animals 75%
Longer Grazing Seasons 50%
Reduction of Overgrazed Plants 50%
Improved Understanding of Your Farm’s Eco-System 75%
Improved Environmental Conditions on Your Farm 42%
Desired Change in Species Composition 42%

 

Knowledge Change Experienced by Participants % Participants ExperiencingKnowledge Change
Session One – Goal Setting
Defining Effective Management Team 73%
Inventory Farm Resources 100%
Develop a Whole Farm Goal 100%
Define What You Are Managing Towards 100%
Identify Needed Farm Systems and Protocols 93%
Integrate Social, Economic, and Environmental Factors into Decision-Making 100%
Session Summary 100%
Session Two – Time Management
Ability to Make Complex On-Farm Decisions 100%
Assess How Time is Spent on Farm 100%
Understanding Seasonal Time Demands/Flows 100%
Effectively Manage Time on Your Farm 100%
Session Summary 100%
Session Three – Financial Planning I
Attitude Toward Financial Planning 100%
Ability to Develop Balance Sheet 100%
How to Increase Farm Net Worth 100%
Determining Viable Profitable Enterprises for Your Farm 90%
Determining Your Farm’s Projected Revenue 100%
Identifying Logjams and Adverse Factors on Farm 100%
Session Summary 100%
Session Four – Financial Planning II  
Skills in Developing Whole Farm Financial Plan 100%
Getting Profit You Need from Your Farm 91%
Delineating Farm Expense Categories 100%
Prioritizing and Cutting Farm Expenses to Guide Reinvestment 100%
Assessing Farm Cash Flow 100%
Monitoring Your Financial Plan 91%
Session Summary 100%
Session Five – Marketing  
Using Whole Farm Goal and Financial Plan to Develop Marketing Plan 86%
Profitably Price Products and Services 79%
Effectively Promote Products and Services 100%
Understanding Your Competition 79%
Marketing Outreach Towards Your Whole Farm Goal 85%
How to Develop a Marketing Plan 93%
Session Summary 100%
Session Six – Business Planning
Knowledge of Resources for Developing Strategic Plan for Farm 100%
Attitudes Towards Value of Having a Business Plan to Guide Farm 90%
Ability to Develop a Business Plan for Farm 100%
Ability to Use Holistic Goal to Guide Business Strategic Plan 100%
Ability to Use Financial Plan to Determine Viable Markets for Farm 100%
Ability to Implement Systems and Projects to Move Towards Whole Farm Goal 100%
Session Summary 100%
Session Seven – Leadership and Communication
Awareness of Communication Patterns on Farm 82%
Effective Communication Tools for Farm 100%
Conflict Resolution Skills for Farm 100%
Incorporating Diverse Learning Styles toward More Effective Leadership and Communication 100%
Sense of Yourself as a Leader 91%
Understanding Diverse Ways People Seek Recognition and Affirmation 82%
Using Whole Farm Goal to Guide Communication on Farm 82%
Session Summary 100%
Session Eight – Land Planning
Prioritize Land and Infrastructure Development/Investments 100%
Design Strategies to Build Resilient, Diversified Farms 100%
Assess Management Considerations to Guide Land Planning 100%
How to Incorporate Natural Resource Issues into Land Planning 100%
How to Incorporate Social/Legal/Contractual into Land Planning 100%
How Permaculture Fits into Holistic Land Planning 89%
Session Summary 100%
Session Nine – Grazing
Value of Grazing Planning 100%
How to Assess Recovery Periods 100%
How to Assess Quantity of Forage in Pasture 100%
How to Improve Land Health with Livestock 100%
How to Determine Number of Animals Your Pasture Can Support 100%
How to Determine the Number of Paddocks 100%
How to Determine Grazing Periods 100%
Session Summary 100%
Session Ten – Soil Fertility
Importance of Improving Soil Fertility Sustainably 55%
Value of Organic Matter in Soils 45%
Benefits of a Covered Soil 64%
Benefits of Biodiversity 55%
Understanding Eco-system Processes on Your Farm 73%
Indicators of a Healthy Farm Eco-System 91%
Ability to Monitor Farm Eco-System Health 82%
Session Summary 91%

 

Increased Confidence In: % of participants
Developing Written Whole Farm Goal 100%
Delineating Farm Resources for Management 80%
Building an Effective Management Team 67%
Identifying Systems and Protocols for your Farm 80%
Manage Your Time on Your Farm 100%
Make Complex Decisions on Your Farm 93%
Using Testing Questions 86%
Determine Your Farm’s Net Worth 100%
Increase Your Farm’s Net Worth 70%
Determine Viable Profitable Enterprises 100%
Determine Your Farm’s Projected Revenue 90%
Ability to Identify Logjam/Adverse Factors 100%
Getting Profit You Need From Your Farm 100%
Prioritizing Cutting Farm Expenses to Guide Re-investment 100%
Determining Weak Link in Farm Enterprises 91%
Identifying Cash Flow Issues on Farm 91%
Monitoring Your Farm Financial Plan 100%
Pricing Your Farm Products 71%
Promoting Your Farm Products 100%
Developing a Marketing Plan that Meets Your Farm’s Needs and Goals 100%
Assessing Your Competition to Understand Your Farm’s Strengths 79%
Developing a Business/Strategic Plan 100%
Identifying Resources to Assist You in Developing a Business/Strategic Plan 100%
Implementing Important Strategic Systems and Projects 90%
Communicating with Decision Makers 91%
Communicating with Farm Workers 91%
Providing Recognition for Farm Workers 100%
Providing Leadership on Your Farm 73%
Ability to Prioritize Land/Infrastructure Improvements on Farm 100%
Ability to Incorporate Natural Resource Issues into Land Planning 100%
Ability to Incorporate Social/Legal Considerations into Land Planning 100%
Ability as a Grazer 88%
Assessing Recovery Periods 100%
Assessing Quantity of Forage and Pasture 88%
Determining the Number of Animals Your Land Can Support for Grazing 88%
Calculating the Number of Paddocks for your System 75%
Determining How Long Animals Will Stay in Each Paddock 88%
Monitoring Your Farm’s Eco-System Health 91%
Improving Eco-System Health on Your Farm 73%
Building Organic Matter in Your Soils 73%
Intended Behavior % of participants
Develop a Whole Farm Goal 100%
Change Management Practices 100%
Implement Time Management Tools or Processes 100%
Using Testing Questions 100%
Change Record-Keeping 80%
Change Enterprise Assessment 70%
Determine Profit Up Front and Cap Expenses 70%
Complete or Modify a Financial Plan 100%
Enter Financial Data Regularly 73%
Monitor Financial Plan 64%
Prioritize and Cut Expenses 82%
Complete or Modify a Marketing Plan 100%
Change Marketing Practices 93%
Complete or Modify a Business Plan 90%
Change Business Planning Practices 88%
Change Leadership Practices 82%
Complete or Modify Written Land Plan 78%
Change Land Management Practices 88%
Complete or Modify Written Grazing Plan 71%
Change Grazing Practices 88%
Conduct Biological Monitoring on Farm 100%
Change Eco-System Health Practices 70%

 

HMI is Hiring

2015 Oregon Whole Farm/Ranch Business Planning Class

HMI is hiring. We  are  looking for an experienced and passionate fundraiser to lead our development efforts and be a crucial player in enabling HMI to accomplish our vision. Our Director, Development role is ideal for an individual who relishes a challenge and can bring their years of demonstrated experience to  inspire regular folks as well as high net worth  individuals to share our vision and help us to make an impact in our community.  If you have a passion for sustainable agriculture and Holistic Management and want to  join our dedicated staff here in Albuquerque, please take a look at the job description for details and application directions.

2015 Massachusetts Beginning Women Farmer Report

2015 MA Beginning Women Farmer Class

2015 MA Beginning Women Farmer Class

 

 

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number Grant #2012-49400-19673 funded HMI’s 2015 Beginning Farmers & Ranchers: Women in the NE & Texas program. We recently completed evaluation of the Massachusetts program which was coordinated by Devon Whitney-Deal through Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA). Instructor for this program included Crystal Stewart, Calley Hastings, Missy Bahret, Jessie Schmidt, and Lisa McCrory. Mentors for the program were Lucy McKain, Laura Meister, and Marie-Laure Couet. There was 94% average satisfaction rating for all sessions and 85% of the participants noted they had increased their network as a result of the training. Thanks to the USDA/NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development program for their support of this program.

Here’s what we’ve learned from our 23 Massachusetts participants, of which 18 graduated from the program:

2015 MA Beginning Women Farmers on farm tour

2015 MA Beginning Women Farmers on farm tour

Participant Demographic Information

Of the 14 participants responding

  • 10 are currently farming
  • The average years of farming was 4 years
  • The average acres under production was 34 acres under production with a total of 272 influenced
  • The total customers of all participants: Retail – total 380; Wholesale – total 23
MA Beginning Women Farmers learning about soil fertility

MA Beginning Women Farmers learning about soil fertility

 

When asked about the effect of this program or what was helpful about the program, participants responded

  • The training has provided a reality check for me to evaluate whether or not a “woman of a certain age” can develop a successful agricultural operation. It is possible given a balanced, holistic management approach to production.
  • It was great to take this course prior to acquiring land and starting a business. It has helped me feel more prepared and confident.
  • It’s given me the confidence that I can succeed as a farmer & do it in a way that will be sustainable for my life. It has given me any resources I could ever need & a basic overview of how to run a successful farm business.
  • This training has been a great starting and building block for me in my own development in future farming goals. It has showed me theoretical ways and real life examples of farmers who have high quality of life and are financially stable – something that has been very hard to see before this course. This class gives us the tools to set a higher standard for farmers to allow us to thrive rather than be broken down.
  • It has been great to connect with other beginning women farmers of all different backgrounds. Also, I’ve enjoyed looking at all of the different aspects of farming & how they fit together – holistically.
  • I came into it with very mixed feelings about whether to pursue owning my own farm. I still have those feelings, but have much more information (via holistic goal, conversations & lectures) to work with, which makes me more confidence moving forward.
  • It has given me a greater appreciation of the details of farming & how important they are, as well as the importance of the community of farmers that we surround ourselves with.
  • It has opened my eyes up to resources available.
  • It gave me confidence. I got solid feedback and support. I truly appreciate the positive words and validation. That meant so much.
  • I thought it was really well organized. There was clearly so much work put into the organization. The teachers were well chosen and they all made classes interesting & engaging.
  • I was extremely impressed with the knowledge & dedication of the presenters & the extremely thorough classes they held.
  • It’s been great! Holistic Management is the way to go if you’re actually trying to be sustainable.
  • Gives a good insight to all the components of farming.
Massachusetts Beginning Women Farmer field day at Natick Farm

Massachusetts Beginning Women Farmer field day at Natick Farm

 

 

PARTICIPANT BEHAVIOR CHANGE/PLANS COMPLETED
% of Participants
Holistic Goal/Whole Farm Plan 100%
Financial Plan 71%
Business Plan 57%
Marketing Plan 64%
Land Plan 36%
Biological Monitoring 25%
Grazing Plan (grazers in group) 0%
Forge Relationships That Positively Impacted You 85%

 

Massachusetts Beginning Women Farmer class networking

Massachusetts Beginning Women Farmer class networking

Key Post-Program Outcomes % Participants ExperiencingChange
Satisfaction with Quality of Life 58%
Satisfaction with Communication 64%
Satisfaction with Time Management 67%

 

soil ma 2sm

Session Satisfaction Class Percent rated good or excellent
Goalsetting 100%
On-Farm Decision Making 96%
Financial Planning Overview 90%
Enterprise Analysis 90%
Market Planning 95%
Business Planning 94%
Leadership & Communication 93%
Land Planning 92%
Grazing Planning 92%
Biological Monitoring/Soil Fertility 100%

 

Key Post-Program Results Percent of Participants
Human Resources
Clearer sense of what your farm is managing towards 79%
Better Ability to Determine Resources Available to You 71%
More Efficient Use of Resources 79%
Improved Communications on the Farm 57%
Improved Decision Making 79%
Better Relationships 50%
Financial Resources
Strategies for More Effective Reinvestment in the Business 57%
New or Improved Record Keeping Systems 71%
Enhanced Understanding of Your Farm Finances 64%
Changes in How Your Prioritize Expenses 50%
Clearer Sense of How Your Business Is Projected to Grow in Future Years 64%
Improved Ability to Articulate Goals and Objectives of Business to Others 64%
Improved Understanding of your Market and How Your Business Fits In 57%
Prioritized investments 36%
Improved ability to determine most effective enterprises 71%
Improved ability to discern most appropriate market channels 57%
Improved ability to effectively market products 50%
Natural Resources
Improved Ability to Incorporate Social, Environmental, and Financial into Your Land Plan 71%
Improved Understanding of Your Farm’s Eco-System 71%
Improved Ability to Determine Appropriate Management to Address an Environmental Issue 36%
Improved Environmental Conditions on Your Farm 36%
Desired Change in Species Composition 29%

 

 

Knowledge Change Experienced % Participants
Session One – Goal Setting
Develop a Whole Farm Goal 96%
Define What You Are Managing Towards 77%
Identify Needed Farm Systems and Protocols 72%
Integrate Social, Economic, and Environmental Factors into Decision-Making 81%
Session Summary 96%
Session Two – Time Management
Ability to Make Complex On-Farm Decisions 83%
Assess How Time is Spent on Farm 88%
Understanding Seasonal Time Demands/Flows 75%
Effectively Manage Time on Your Farm 83%
Session Summary 96%
Session Three – Financial Planning I
Attitude Toward Financial Planning 81%
Ability to Develop Balance Sheet 81%
How to Increase Farm Net Worth 86%
Determining Viable Profitable Enterprises for Your Farm 81%
Determining Your Farm’s Projected Revenue 67%
Session Summary 95%
Session Four – Financial Planning II  
Skills in Developing Whole Farm Financial Plan 70%
Getting Profit You Need from Your Farm 80%
Delineating Farm Expense Categories 80%
Prioritizing and Cutting Farm Expenses to Guide Reinvestment 70%
Assessing Farm Cash Flow 70%
Monitoring Your Financial Plan 80%
Session Summary 100%
Session Five – Marketing  
Using Whole Farm Goal and Financial Plan to Develop Marketing Plan 82%
Profitably Price Products and Services 68%
Effectively Promote Products and Services 82%
Understanding Your Competition 64%
Session Summary 100%
Session Six – Business Planning
Knowledge of Resources for Developing Strategic Plan for Farm 76%
Attitudes Towards Value of Having a Business Plan to Guide Farm 76%
Ability to Develop a Business Plan for Farm 88%
Ability to Use Financial Plan to Determine Viable Markets for Farm 88%
Ability to Implement Systems and Projects to Move Towards Whole Farm Goal 76%
Session Summary 94%
Session Seven – Leadership and Communication
Effective Communication Tools for Farm 73%
Incorporating Diverse Learning Styles toward More Effective Leadership and Communication 93%
Session Summary 100%
Session Eight – Land Planning
Prioritize Land and Infrastructure Development/Investments 100%
Design Strategies to Build Resilient, Diversified Farms 92%
Assess Management Considerations to Guide Land Planning 100%
How to Incorporate Natural Resource Issues into Land Planning 92%
How to Incorporate Social/Legal/Contractual into Land Planning 92%
How Permaculture Fits into Holistic Land Planning 92%
Session Summary 100%
Session Nine – Grazing
Value of Grazing Planning 71%
How to Assess Recovery Periods 93%
How to Assess Quantity of Forage in Pasture 86%
How to Improve Land Health with Livestock 79%
How to Determine Number of Animals Your Pasture Can Support 79%
How to Determine the Number of Paddocks 93%
How to Determine Grazing Periods 93%
Session Summary 93%
Session Ten – Soil Fertility
Importance of Improving Soil Fertility Sustainably 62%
Benefits of a Covered Soil 54%
Understanding Eco-system Processes on Your Farm 69%
Indicators of a Healthy Farm Eco-System 85%
Ability to Monitor Farm Eco-System Health 69%
Session Summary 92%

 

Increased Confidence In: % of Participants
Developing Written Whole Farm Goal 96%
Manage Your Time on Your Farm 100%
Make Complex Decisions on Your Farm 92%
Using Testing Questions 86%
Determine Your Farm’s Net Worth 81%
Determine Viable Profitable Enterprises 86%
Determine Your Farm’s Projected Revenue 67%
Getting Profit You Need From Your Farm 80%
Prioritizing Cutting Farm Expenses to Guide Re-investment 60%
Determining Weak Link in Farm Enterprises 70%
Identifying Cash Flow Issues on Farm 90%
Monitoring Your Farm Financial Plan 100%
Promoting Your Farm Products 91%
Developing a Marketing Plan that Meets Your Farm’s Needs and Goals 73%
Developing a Business/Strategic Plan 100%
Identifying Resources to Assist You in Developing a Business/Strategic Plan 88%
Implementing Important Strategic Systems and Projects 76%
Communicating with Decision Makers 73%
Communicating with Farm Workers 73%
Providing Recognition for Farm Workers 93%
Providing Leadership on Your Farm 73%
Ability to Prioritize Land/Infrastructure Improvements on Farm 92%
Ability to Incorporate Natural Resource Issues into Land Planning 92%
Ability to Incorporate Social/Legal Considerations into Land Planning 100%
Ability as a Grazer 64%
Assessing Recovery Periods 86%
Assessing Quantity of Forage and Pasture 86%
Determining the Number of Animals Your Land Can Support for Grazing 86%
Calculating the Number of Paddocks for your System 64%
Determining How Long Animals Will Stay in Each Paddock 71%
Monitoring Your Farm’s Eco-System Health 77%
Improving Eco-System Health on Your Farm 69%
Building Organic Matter in Your Soils 92%
Intended Behavior % of Participants
Develop a Whole Farm Goal 100%
Change Management Practices 73%
Implement Time Management Tools or Processes 100%
Using Testing Questions 96%
Change Record-Keeping 67%
Change Enterprise Assessment 67%
Determine Profit Up Front and Cap Expenses 62%
Complete or Modify a Financial Plan 100%
Enter Financial Data Regularly 80%
Monitor Financial Plan 70%
Complete or Modify a Marketing Plan 95%
Change Marketing Practices 84%
Complete or Modify a Business Plan 94%
Change Business Planning Practices 73%
Change Leadership Practices 86%
Complete or Modify Written Land Plan 100%
Change Land Management Practices 89%
Change Grazing Practices 73%
Conduct Biological Monitoring on Farm 100%

 

 

Living with the Land – Farming with Nature

Dixon-SheepSMALL

Here’s a video produced for Permaculture Magazine about Holistic Grazing Planning in the UK. The video highlights the Village Farm – a living example of regenerative agriculture in southwest England.

A little over a year ago, Holistic Management practitioners Rebecca Hosking and Tim Green – makers of the BBC2 documentary ‘A Farm for The Future’ – became tenants of 175 acres of exhausted soils.

Turning a windswept, misused, coastal farm into an abundant landscape working with nature is their goal; their approach -Holistic Grazing Planning.

They do a great job explaining the difference between mob grazing and planned grazing.

For more videos about the benefits and how-to’s of practicing Holistic Management, be sure to check out HMI’s YouTube channel.

 

2015 Vermont Beginning Women Farmer Report

2015 VT Beginning Women Farmers

2015 VT Beginning Women Farmers

 

 

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number Grant #2012-49400-19673 funded HMI’s 2015 Beginning Farmers & Ranchers: Women in the NE & Texas program. We recently completed evaluation of the Vermont program which was coordinated by Heidi Krantz and Jessie Schmidt through University of Vermont. Instructors for this program were Calley Hastings and Lisa McCrory. Mentors for the program were Lisa McCrory, Chandra Blackmer, and Heidi Krantz. There was 92% average satisfaction rating for all sessions and 69% of the participants noted they had increased their network as a result of the training. Thanks to the USDA/NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development program for their support of this program.

Here’s what we’ve learned from our 14 Vermont participants, of which 12 graduated from the program:

Participant Demographic Information

Of the 14 participants responding

  • 11 are currently farming
  • The average years of farming was 4 years
  • The average acres under production was 15 acres with a total of 196 influenced.
  • The total customers of all participants: Retail – total 674; Wholesale – total 94
Lisa McCrory discussing Holistic Management practices on McCrory Farm

Lisa McCrory discussing Holistic Management practices on McCrory Farm

When asked about the effect of this program or what was helpful about the program, participants responded

Better general understanding of how and why rotational grazing is so important. The testing questions have been crucial in analyzing what has and hasn’t been working for the farm, enabling me to make sound business decisions, as opposed to just going with my gut/heart.

My mentor has been a major asset to me and I look forward to maintaining a close relationship with her. My teachers and fellow students were extremely valuable connections.

The network of ladies in my HMI course is amazing! I have gotten equipment, advice, and companionship from them

Mentors and peers from HMI have offered great resources, skills and knowledge

Planning for profit, looking at the big picture of finances, marketing products, creating a holistic goal – all of these in addition to meeting and sharing with other farmers have helped us create a plan for our farm.

The program has helped me gain more confidence in all aspects of our farm. Communication with my partner has gotten much stronger and has allowed us to take on problems we had been ignoring and working around.

It has given me a new perspective to view my enterprises through and measurements by which I can determine their effectiveness and ability to support my holistic goals for the land. Though I am only in my first year of production, so I do not have any business plan to work from, or existing product line, I am able to more clearly see how to prioritize my time and money to bring things to market.

Taking this training has really gotten me thinking about my farm and its enterprises in a new way. Making the holistic goal and learning the testing questions has already impacted the way I make decisions in a positive way. All the various modules from financial planning to marketing and business planning were helpful in getting me to actually sit down and write the plans out that have been floating around in my head for a long time. The grazing plan and enterprise profit and loss have been incredibly useful and biomonitoring is under way right now.

The training has allowed me to focus on what I want from our farm and how to achieve our goals. The different sections, holistic goal, marketing, financial & business planning, grazing, etc. allow for easier management and thinking of the whole when it is broken down into more manageable pieces.

This training has helped me define my life goals more clearly. It has given me an understanding and the tools to grow my business. I am so excited for the future and what I am capable of.

It helped me step back from the day to day hysteria of running a farm and let me look at the business as a whole. I now have a better ability to analyze and prioritize what I am doing.

I can prioritize my time and chores much better. I have a greater holistic vision for the future of my farm and my life.

Excellent program. I’ve been recommending it to lots of farmer and wanna be farmer friends. I hope you will continue to offer it, invaluable information. I also really liked having the 12 weeks to get to know the other women in the class, and look forward to watching their progress too

Very worthwhile program that as well as providing invaluable information provides an opportunity to bring like-minded people together. The support generated from the course is a very important aspect.

This program is wonderful! It is extremely comprehensive and covers all aspects of a farm business.

As a complete newbie farmer, this class was invaluable and delivered exactly what I was hoping for: exposure to the business end of farming, learning from experienced mentors and other farming classmates, and tuning in to the challenges that lay ahead better equipped with goals, testing questions, management techniques, etc. Well worth the time and money ( I paid the full fee) and I’d do it all again.

 

Vermont Beginning Women Farmers on McCrory Farm

Vermont Beginning Women Farmers on McCrory Farm

 

 

BWF PARTICIPANT BEHAVIOR CHANGE/COMPLETED PLANS % of participants
Holistic Goal/Whole Farm Plan 100%
Financial Plan 75%
Business Plan 71%
Marketing Plan 71%
Land Plan 71%
Biological Monitoring 64%
Grazing Plan (grazers in group) 82%
Forge Relationships That Positively Impacted You 69%

 

Vermont Beginning Women farmers on farm tour

Vermont Beginning Women farmers on farm tour

Key Post-Program Results % Participants
Satisfaction with Quality of Life 8%
Satisfaction with Communication 33%
Satisfaction with Time Management 33%

 

Session Satisfaction Class Percent rated good or excellent
Goalsetting 100%
On-Farm Decision Making 89%
Financial Planning Overview 100%
Enterprise Analysis 92%
Marketing Planning 85%
Business Planning 75%
Leadership & Communication 93%
Land Planning 91%
Grazing Planning 100%
Biological Monitoring/Soil Fertility 90%

 

Post-Program Results Percent of Participants
Financial Resources
Increased Farm Profits 29%
Ability to Identify Business Challenges from Previous Years 86%
Strategies for More Effective Reinvestment in the Business 57%
New or Improved Record Keeping Systems 79%
Enhanced Understanding of Your Farm Finances 86%
Changes in Farm Enterprises 71%
Changes in How Your Prioritize Expenses 64%
Increased Efficiency of Farm Chores as a Result of Land Planning 71%
Clearer Sense of How Your Business Is Projected to Grow in Future Years 64%
Improved Ability to Articulate Goals and Objectives of Business to Others 71%
Improved Understanding of your Market and How Your Business Fits In 71%
New Business Systems (Improved Understanding of your Market and How Your Business Fits into These) 50%
Prioritized investments 57%
Improved ability to determine most effective enterprises 71%
New ways of displaying or packaging product 50%
Improved ability to discern most appropriate market channels 50%
Improved ability to effectively market products 50%
New marketing methods you have employed 50%
Improved ability to receive desired price for your products/services 36%
Natural Resources
Improved Environmental Conditions as a Result of Land Planning 36%
Enhanced Production as a Result of Land Planning 50%
Improved Ability to Prioritize Land Planning Investments 93%
Improved Ability to Incorporate Social, Environmental, and Financial into Your Land Plan 79%
Proved Profitability through Your Land Plan 36%
Increased Forage Production 36%
Reduction in Feed Costs 21%
Improved Environmental Conditions 29%
Improved Herd Health 21%
Improved Ability to Manage Animals 50%
Less Stress for Farmers 36%
Less Stress for Animals 29%
Improved Understanding of Your Farm’s Eco-System 79%
Improved Ability to Determine Appropriate Management to Address an Environmental Issue 64%
Improved Understanding of Your Forage Composition 64%
Improved Environmental Conditions on Your Farm 36%

 

Knowledge Change Experienced % Participants
Session One – Goal Setting
Inventory Farm Resources 73%
Develop a Whole Farm Goal 100%
Define What You Are Managing Towards 93%
Identify Needed Farm Systems and Protocols 93%
Session Summary 100%
Session Two – Time Management
Ability to Make Complex On-Farm Decisions 89%
Assess How Time is Spent on Farm 78%
Effectively Manage Time on Your Farm 56%
Session Summary 89%
Session Three – Financial Planning I
Attitude Toward Financial Planning 85%
Ability to Develop Balance Sheet 77%
How to Increase Farm Net Worth 77%
Determining Viable Profitable Enterprises for Your Farm 85%
Determining Your Farm’s Projected Revenue 85%
Identifying Logjams and Adverse Factors on Farm 92%
Session Summary 100%
Session Four – Financial Planning II  
Skills in Developing Whole Farm Financial Plan 83%
Getting Profit You Need from Your Farm 92%
Prioritizing and Cutting Farm Expenses to Guide Reinvestment 67%
Assessing Farm Cash Flow 100%
Monitoring Your Financial Plan 75%
Session Summary 100%
Session Five – Marketing  
Using Whole Farm Goal and Financial Plan to Develop Marketing Plan 92%
Profitably Price Products and Services 62%
Effectively Promote Products and Services 69%
Understanding Your Competition 77%
Marketing Outreach Towards Your Whole Farm Goal 92%
How to Develop a Marketing Plan 92%
Session Summary 100%
Session Six – Business Planning
Knowledge of Resources for Developing Strategic Plan for Farm 100%
Attitudes Towards Value of Having a Business Plan to Guide Farm 71%
Ability to Develop a Business Plan for Farm 75%
Ability to Use Financial Plan to Determine Viable Markets for Farm 88%
Ability to Implement Systems and Projects to Move Towards Whole Farm Goal 88%
Session Summary 100%
Session Seven – Leadership and Communication
Awareness of Communication Patterns on Farm 86%
Effective Communication Tools for Farm 93%
Conflict Resolution Skills for Farm 79%
Incorporating Diverse Learning Styles toward More Effective Leadership and Communication 93%
Understanding Diverse Ways People Seek Recognition and Affirmation 93%
Using Whole Farm Goal to Guide Communication on Farm 79%
Session Summary 100%
Session Eight – Land Planning
Prioritize Land and Infrastructure Development/Investments 82%
Design Strategies to Build Resilient, Diversified Farms 82%
Assess Management Considerations to Guide Land Planning 82%
How to Incorporate Natural Resource Issues into Land Planning 82%
How Permaculture Fits into Holistic Land Planning 82%
Session Summary 100%
Session Nine – Grazing
Value of Grazing Planning 100%
How to Assess Recovery Periods 100%
How to Assess Quantity of Forage in Pasture 100%
How to Improve Land Health with Livestock 100%
How to Determine Number of Animals Your Pasture Can Support 100%
How to Determine the Number of Paddocks 100%
How to Determine Grazing Periods 100%
Session Summary 100%
Session Ten – Soil Fertility
Importance of Improving Soil Fertility Sustainably 73%
Value of Organic Matter in Soils 64%
Benefits of a Covered Soil 82%
Understanding Eco-system Processes on Your Farm 82%
Indicators of a Healthy Farm Eco-System 82%
Ability to Monitor Farm Eco-System Health 91%
Session Summary 100%

 

Increased Confidence In: % of Participants
Developing Written Whole Farm Goal 87%
Building an Effective Management Team 67%
Identifying Systems and Protocols for your Farm 67%
Manage Your Time on Your Farm 100%
Make Complex Decisions on Your Farm 89%
Using Testing Questions 67%
Determine Your Farm’s Net Worth 85%
Increase Your Farm’s Net Worth 62%
Determine Viable Profitable Enterprises 85%
Determine Your Farm’s Projected Revenue 62%
Ability to Identify Logjam/Adverse Factors 92%
Getting Profit You Need From Your Farm 92%
Prioritizing Cutting Farm Expenses to Guide Re-investment 75%
Determining Weak Link in Farm Enterprises 83%
Identifying Cash Flow Issues on Farm 92%
Monitoring Your Farm Financial Plan 83%
Pricing Your Farm Products 62%
Promoting Your Farm Products 100%
Developing a Marketing Plan that Meets Your Farm’s Needs and Goals 69%
Assessing Your Competition to Understand Your Farm’s Strengths 100%
Developing a Business/Strategic Plan 88%
Identifying Resources to Assist You in Developing a Business/Strategic Plan 75%
Implementing Important Strategic Systems and Projects 75%
Communicating with Decision Makers 100%
Communicating with Farm Workers 79%
Providing Recognition for Farm Workers 79%
Providing Leadership on Your Farm 64%
Ability to Prioritize Land/Infrastructure Improvements on Farm 91%
Ability to Incorporate Natural Resource Issues into Land Planning 100%
Ability to Incorporate Social/Legal Considerations into Land Planning 73%
Ability as a Grazer 82%
Assessing Recovery Periods 100%
Assessing Quantity of Forage and Pasture 100%
Determining the Number of Animals Your Land Can Support for Grazing 100%
Calculating the Number of Paddocks for your System 82%
Determining How Long Animals Will Stay in Each Paddock 82%
Monitoring Your Farm’s Eco-System Health 100%
Improving Eco-System Health on Your Farm 91%
Building Organic Matter in Your Soils 91%
Intended Behavior % of participants
Develop a Whole Farm Goal 93%
Change Management Practices 92%
Implement Time Management Tools or Processes 100%
Using Testing Questions 100%
Change Enterprise Assessment 77%
Determine Profit Up Front and Cap Expenses 62%
Complete or Modify a Financial Plan 100%
Enter Financial Data Regularly 67%
Monitor Financial Plan 75%
Prioritize and Cut Expenses 75%
Strategically Reinvest in Farm 58%
Complete or Modify a Marketing Plan 92%
Change Marketing Practices 100%
Complete or Modify a Business Plan 88%
Change Leadership Practices 64%
Complete or Modify Written Land Plan 80%
Complete or Modify Written Grazing Plan 73%
Change Grazing Practices 80%
Conduct Biological Monitoring on Farm 100%
Change Eco-System Health Practices 70%

 

2015 New Hampshire Beginning Women Farmer Report

Visit to Fat Toad Farm by NH Beginning Women Farmers

Visit to Fat Toad Farm by NH Beginning Women Farmers

 

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number Grant #2012-49400-19673 funded HMI’s 2015 Beginning Farmers & Ranchers: Women in the NE & Texas program. We recently completed evaluation of the New Hampshire program which was coordinated by Kate Kerman through Small and Beginner Farmers of New Hampshire. Instructors for this program included Phil Metzger, Seth Wilner, Calley Hastings, and Jessie Schmidt. Mentors for the program were Sandy Brocaar and Christine Pressman. There was a 88% average satisfaction rating for sessions, with 91% of respondents noting that they had expanded their network as a result of this program. Thanks to the USDA/NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development program for their support of this program.

Here’s what we’ve learned from our 15 New Hampshire participants, of which 13 graduated from the program:

New Hampshire Beginning Women Farmer Class at D Acres Farm

New Hampshire Beginning Women Farmer Class at D Acres Farm

Participant Demographic Information

Of the 11 participants responding

  • 10 are currently farming
  • The average years of farming was 5 years (range: 2 to 10 years)
  • The average acres under production was 16 acres under production with a total of 146 acres influenced
  • The total customers of all participants: Retail – 27 Average (total 108); Wholesale – Average 6 (total 18)

When asked about the effect of this program or what was helpful about the program, participants responded:

A framework for establishing a viable farm based operation

Getting to know other women who are potential sources of information has been very good

Coming in contact with people that have a wealth of information

I would like to keep in touch with classmates as a resource/inspiration and sisterhood

I hope to draw on this group of women for advice in the future

Networking among farmers

Knowledge transfer, established relationships, gained perspective

Network of wonderful women from NH and VT to share farming passion with. A whole new set of resources

I feel as though I have been given a lot of great tools and resources to make me and my future farm successful

Training in testing, business plan and marketing plan will help in all aspects of the farm

This course has given me the tools to critically analyze our enterprises and make the necessary changes or improvements so that we are closer to reaching our holistic goal

I really was feeling overwhelmed and knew I needed a farming education to be successful. This program has provided that and more

Very helpful, came at an opportune time gave great tools @ hand to hopefully improve farm as business and lifestyle

Loved it. Well run, organized     

 

PARTICIPANT BEHAVIOR CHANGE/ COMPLETED PLANS % of participants
Holistic Goal/Whole Farm Plan 91%
Financial Plan 64%
Business Plan 64%
Marketing Plan 64%
Land Plan 45%
Biological Monitoring 18%
Grazing Plan (grazers in group) 50%
Forge Relationships That Positively Impacted You 91%

 

Key Post-Program Outcomes % Participants ExperiencingChange
Satisfaction with Quality of Life 30%
Satisfaction with Communication 78%
Satisfaction with Time Management 70%

 

Post Session Impacts Percent of Participants
Human Resources
Clearer sense of what your farm is managing towards 82%
Better Ability to Determine Resources Available to You 64%
More Efficient Use of Resources 55%
Improved Communications on the Farm 55%
Improved Decision Making 100%
Financial Resources
Ability to Identify Business Challenges from Previous Years 64%
Strategies for More Effective Reinvestment in the Business 45%
New or Improved Record Keeping Systems 73%
Enhanced Understanding of Your Farm Finances 82%
Changes in Farm Enterprises 45%
Changes in How Your Prioritize Expenses 55%
Improved Ability to Prioritize Land Planning Investments 27%
Clearer Sense of How Your Business Is Projected to Grow in Future Years 55%
Improved Ability to Articulate Goals and Objectives of Business to Others 55%
Improved Understanding of your Market and How Your Business Fits In 64%
New Business Systems (Improved Understanding of your Market and How Your Business Fits into These) 36%
Prioritized investments 45%
Improved ability to determine most effective enterprises 73%
Natural Resources
Improved Ability to Incorporate Social, Environmental, and Financial into Your Land Plan 27%
Increased Forage Production 25%
Reduction in Feed Costs 25%
Improved Environmental Conditions 50%
Improved Herd Health 25%
Improved Ability to Manage Animals 50%
Less Stress for Farmers 25%
Less Stress for Animals 25%
Longer Grazing Seasons 50%
Reduction of Overgrazed Plants 25%
Enrollment in Government Programs for Grazing (NRCS, FSA, etc.) 50%
Improved Ability to Determine Appropriate Management to Address an Environmental Issue 45%
Desired Change in Species Composition 36%
Improved ability to discern most appropriate market channels 27%
New markets you have entered 18%
Improved ability to effectively market products 36%
New marketing methods you have employed 18%
Improved ability to receive desired price for your products/services 45%
Changes in the prices you are getting for your products or services. 27%

 

Session Satisfaction Class Percent rated good or excellent
Goalsetting 89%
On Farm Decision Making 100%
Financial Planning Overview 91%
Enterprise Analysis 100%
Marketing Planning 89%
Business Planning 64%
Leadership & Communication 78%
Land Planning 100%
Grazing Planning 86%
Biological Monitoring/Soil Fertility 82%

 

Key Knowledge Change Experienced % Participants Experiencing Knowledge Change
Session One – Goal Setting
Develop a Whole Farm Goal 89%
Identify Needed Farm Systems and Protocols 89%
Integrate Social, Economic, and Environmental Factors into Decision-Making 78%
Session Summary 100%
Session Two – Time Management
Ability to Make Complex On-Farm Decisions 78%
Session Summary 89%
Session Three – Financial Planning I
Attitude Toward Financial Planning 92%
How to Increase Farm Net Worth 83%
Determining Viable Profitable Enterprises for Your Farm 83%
Determining Your Farm’s Projected Revenue 83%
Identifying Logjams and Adverse Factors on Farm 83%
Session Summary 100%
Session Four – Financial Planning II  
Skills in Developing Whole Farm Financial Plan 100%
Getting Profit You Need from Your Farm 92%
Delineating Farm Expense Categories 100%
Prioritizing and Cutting Farm Expenses to Guide Reinvestment 100%
Assessing Farm Cash Flow 92%
Monitoring Your Financial Plan 92%
Session Summary 100%
Session Five – Marketing  
Using Whole Farm Goal and Financial Plan to Develop Marketing Plan 89%
Effectively Promote Products and Services 100%
Understanding Your Competition 78%
Marketing Outreach Towards Your Whole Farm Goal 100%
How to Develop a Marketing Plan 78%
Session Summary 100%
Session Six – Business Planning
Ability to Develop a Business Plan for Farm 91%
Ability to Use Holistic Goal to Guide Business Strategic Plan 73%
Ability to Use Financial Plan to Determine Viable Markets for Farm 70%
Ability to Implement Systems and Projects to Move Towards Whole Farm Goal 50%
Session Summary 100%
Session Seven – Leadership and Communication
Awareness of Communication Patterns on Farm 70%
Effective Communication Tools for Farm 80%
Conflict Resolution Skills for Farm 80%
Incorporating Diverse Learning Styles toward More Effective Leadership and Communication 90%
Using Whole Farm Goal to Guide Communication on Farm 80%
Session Summary 100%
Session Eight – Land Planning
Prioritize Land and Infrastructure Development/Investments 80%
Design Strategies to Build Resilient, Diversified Farms 100%
How to Incorporate Natural Resource Issues into Land Planning 80%
How Permaculture Fits into Holistic Land Planning 80%
Session Summary 100%
Session Nine – Grazing
Value of Grazing Planning 86%
How to Assess Recovery Periods 86%
How to Assess Quantity of Forage in Pasture 71%
How to Improve Land Health with Livestock 86%
How to Determine the Number of Paddocks 86%
How to Determine Grazing Periods 86%
Session Summary 86%
Session Ten – Soil Fertility
Indicators of a Healthy Farm Eco-System 73%
Ability to Monitor Farm Eco-System Health 82%
Session Summary 82%

 

Increased Confidence From Training: % of participants
Developing Written Whole Farm Goal 67%
Identifying Systems and Protocols for your Farm 78%
Manage Your Time on Your Farm 88%
Make Complex Decisions on Your Farm 89%
Using Testing Questions 83%
Determine Your Farm’s Net Worth 75%
Increase Your Farm’s Net Worth 83%
Determine Viable Profitable Enterprises 83%
Determine Your Farm’s Projected Revenue 92%
Getting Profit You Need From Your Farm 92%
Prioritizing Cutting Farm Expenses to Guide Re-investment 100%
Determining Weak Link in Farm Enterprises 92%
Identifying Cash Flow Issues on Farm 100%
Monitoring Your Farm Financial Plan 92%
Promoting Your Farm Products 100%
Developing a Marketing Plan that Meets Your Farm’s Needs and Goals 78%
Assessing Your Competition to Understand Your Farm’s Strengths 100%
Developing a Business/Strategic Plan 82%
Identifying Resources to Assist You in Developing a Business/Strategic Plan 82%
Implementing Important Strategic Systems and Projects 73%
Providing Leadership on Your Farm 70%
Ability to Prioritize Land/Infrastructure Improvements on Farm 100%
Ability to Incorporate Natural Resource Issues into Land Planning 100%
Ability to Incorporate Social/Legal Considerations into Land Planning 100%
Monitoring Your Farm’s Eco-System Health 82%
Improving Eco-System Health on Your Farm 64%
Building Organic Matter in Your Soils 64%
Intended Behavior % of participants
Develop a Whole Farm Goal 100%
Change Management Practices 80%
Implement Time Management Tools or Processes 89%
Using Testing Questions 100%
Change Record-Keeping 75%
Change Enterprise Assessment 83%
Complete or Modify a Financial Plan 100%
Prioritize and Cut Expenses 75%
Complete or Modify a Marketing Plan 100%
Change Marketing Practices 80%
Complete or Modify a Business Plan 90%
Change Leadership Practices 90%
Complete or Modify Written Land Plan 100%
Change Grazing Practices 80%
Conduct Biological Monitoring on Farm 90%
Change Eco-System Health Practices 82%

 

 

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