Non–Profit Organization Teaches Beginning Women Farmers and Ranchers How to Create Successful Agricultural Businesses

Events Empower Women in Agriculture and Educate Them  on Principles, Practices, and Benefits of Holistic Management

Albuquerque, NM – July 19, 2011 – Holistic Management International (HMI), an Albuquerque based non-profit organization with deep roots in Texas, is supporting Texas women farmers and ranchers with a series of seminars  throughout Texas as part of HMI’s Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Program.  The four one-day seminars will give participants a better understanding of how Holistic Management can help build a sustainable future, the market for local foods, and how they can take part in the three-year Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Program.   The seminars will be offered on September 19 at the McKinney Roughs Nature Park in Cedar Creek; September 27 at Texas Tech University in Lubbock; October 11 at the Dallas Farmers Market in Dallas; and October 25 at the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg.  All seminars are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and are free and open to the public.  The Texas events will focus on educating women farmers and ranchers on how to build successful businesses by utilizing the principles and practices of Holistic Management, a whole-farm planning system that benefits the land, animals, and people.  The seminars will teach values-based goal setting, the appropriate use of tools, as well as financial, land, and biological planning and monitoring.

“A great need exists for a program that focuses on beginning women ranchers and farmers,” said Peter Holter, chief executive officer for HMI.  “Currently, more than one million farms are run by women throughout the country and we are excited to learn that the amount of young women getting into farming is growing.  According to the Women and Food Agriculture Network, the agriculture industry has seen a 30 percent increase nationally in the number of women run farms and ranches since 2002.    If you look at demographic, social, and economic factors, they indicate that number will continue to rise throughout Texas in the coming years.”

Andrew Smiley is the Farm Direct Project director for Sustainable Food Center and will be speaking at the Texas events.  He has more than 15-years experience working in sustainable agriculture and food systems, and is an active supporter of sustainable food systems throughout Texas and the U.S. both professional and as a volunteer with several organizations.  “Small-scale sustainable producers contribute greatly to our economy, our environment, and our culture,” said Smiley.  “I am honored to be a part of the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers program as it expands into Texas and to help attendees understand the potential individual and community benefits of getting involved in a local and sustainable food system.”

The initial program was developed in 2009 and has trained nearly 200 women farmers in New, York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine.   Due to an overwhelming response of positive results and feedback from participants, HMI is expanding the program into Texas this fall.  For more information on HMI’s Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Program and seminar registration details, go to our Training page.