Beginning Farmers & Ranchers: Women in the Northeast
A three year program managed by HMI and funded by a grant from the USDA to train 270 women from six Northeastern states in Holistic Management, whole farm/ranch planning.
“Being involved with this program has been significant for me in two ways—it has given me a completely new approach to planning for my own land and farming aspirations, and it has shown me a system for assisting farmers that views all aspects of their lives, land, and business as equal parts of the whole that can be managed sustainably without sacrifice.” – Jessie Schmidt, Program Participant, Vermont
In support of women in agriculture, HMI was awarded a grant of more than $640,000 from the USDA/NIFA to teach whole-farming planning to beginning women farmers in the Northeast states of New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine. The objective of the program is to educate and empower these newcomers so they are positioned to apply Holistic Management principles and practices in order to build successful agricultural businesses. The curriculum helps women integrate economic, social, and ecological factors into their management decisions. Infused in this program are sessions to help participants learn and implement leadership and communication skills. Participants gain sustainable cropping skills, livestock production skills, whole farm planning skills and an entrepreneurial focus. The structure of the program includes workshops, on-farm visits, webinars, mentoring, and networking support. As we close year two of the program, the majority of participants have demonstrated significant outcomes in their understanding of Holistic Management.
You can find additional detailed outcomes on our Northeast program in the outcomes flyer.
As part of our Northeast program, HMI hosted the Beginning Women Farmer Conference: Exploring Whole Farm Planning at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA in 2012. The full Conference Proceedings include additional information on the successes of the program the the women whose lives its changed. On the proceedings page, you’ll find short video profiles of the women involved in the program. It’s a great way to see how Holistic Management has effected the lives and farms of the women involved.
Due to the success of the program in the Northeast, HMI is currently looking to extend the program in the Northeast and to start a new program in Texas.