2013 Massachusetts Beginning Women Farmer Program Report

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Massachusetts 2013 Beginning Women Farmer Participants

HMI is excited to report on the data we have collected from our Beginning Women Farmer Training Program in Massachusetts which began in November 2012 and ran through May of 2013. This program was part of HMI’s Beginning Women Farmer Program funded by the USDA/NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. 15 women were accepted into the program for the 2012-2013 program year and 13 graduated. The State Coordinator position was shared by Devon Whitney-Deal and Kristen Wilmer of Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture. Program mentor was Katie Campbell-Nelson of University of Massachusetts.

The data below demonstrates that a high level of knowledge and attitude change occurred and that the women completed or modified numerous farm plans (actual behavior change) which resulted in many benefits. 80% or more of the participants developed a whole farm goal, a financial plan, and a grazing plan.

Also of note, an extremely high percentage of participants reported increased satisfaction with aspects of farming including higher quality of life (80%), better communication (89%), improved time management (89%), increased ability to determine profit (100%), and improved ability to make complex decisions (100%).

The top ten post-session impacts realized by participants are:

  • Clearer sense of what farm is managing towards (100%)
  • Better ability to determine resources available for management (91%)
  • Improved decision-making (82%)
  • Improved understanding of your farm’s eco-system (82%)
  • Improved ability to articulate goals and objectives of business to others (73%)
  • Improved ability to determine appropriate management practices to remediate an environmental issue (73%)
  • Changes in how you prioritize expenses (73%)
  • New record keeping systems (73%)
  • Improved ability to incorporate social, environmental, and financial information into land plan (73%)
  • Enhanced Understanding of Your Farm Finances (64%)

Harms Family Farm Tour

There was an 86% satisfaction rating for the program mentor and a 94% satisfaction rating for the state coordinator. In 9 out of the 10 sessions 82% or more of the participants noted knowledge change. That knowledge change varied depending on content of sessions, but was as high as 84%. Overall satisfaction with sessions were 89% or higher for 9 out of 10 sessions with 86% of the participants satisfied with the program overall.

Participant Demographic Information

Of the 15 participants, 11 completed the final survey from which we were able to gather the following information.

  • The average years of farming was 4 years (range: 0 – 10 years)
  • The average acres farmed was 4 acres under production (range:.25 – 14 acres)
  • The average age of the farmers was 39 years old (range: 23 – 58)
  • The race the participants reported was: 7 Anglo; and 4 left the query blank
  • The total customers of all participants was 456

 

Knowledge Change Summary Per Session

Course

% Participants Experiencing

Knowledge Change

% of knowledge change

Session One – Goal Setting
Develop a Whole Farm Goal

93%

62%

Define What You Are Managing Towards

93%

52%

Inventory Farm Resources

86%

38%

Integrate Social, Economic, and Environmental Factors into Decision-Making

71%

41%

Defining Effective Management Team

64%

29%

Identify Needed Farm Systems and Protocols

64%

40%

Session Summary

93%

 

Session Two – Time Management
Effectively Manage Time on Your Farm

79%

37%

Assess How Time is Spent on Farm

79%

46%

Ability to Make Complex On-Farm Decisions

86%

39%

Understanding Seasonal Time Demands/Flows

71%

32%

Session Summary

100%

 

Session Three – Financial Planning I
Identifying Logjams and Adverse Factors on Farm

93%

44%

Attitude Toward Financial Planning

87%

40%

Ability to Develop Balance Sheet

73%

39%

How to Increase Farm Net Worth

73%

52%

Determining Viable Profitable Enterprises for Your Farm

67%

36%

Session Summary

100%

 

Session Four – Financial Planning II

 

 

Skills in Developing Whole Farm Financial Plan

100%

81%

Getting Profit You Need from Your Farm

93%

84%

Delineating Farm Expense Categories

93%

63%

Assessing Farm Cash Flow

93%

71%

Monitoring Your Financial Plan

93%

76%

Prioritizing and Cutting Farm Expenses to Guide Reinvestment

87%

62%

Session Summary

100%

 

Session Five – Marketing    
Using Whole Farm Goal and Financial Plan to Develop Marketing Plan

90%

41%

Effectively Promote Products and Services

90%

38%

Understanding Your Competition

90%

33%

How to Develop a Marketing Plan

90%

42%

Marketing Outreach Towards Your Whole Farm Goal

80%

58%

Session Summary

100%

 

Session Six – Business Planning
Ability to Use Holistic Goal to Guide Business Strategic Plan

82%

32%

Ability to Use Financial Plan to Determine Viable Markets for Farm

64%

46%

Knowledge of Resources for Developing Strategic Plan for Farm

64%

35%

Attitudes Towards Value of Having a Business Plan to Guide Farm

55%

26%

Ability to Develop a Business Plan for Farm

55%

29%

Ability to Implement Systems and Projects to Move Towards Whole Farm Goal

45%

26%

Session Summary

82%

 

Session Seven – Leadership and   Communication
Using Whole Farm Goal to Guide Communication on Farm

89%

48%

Incorporating Diverse Learning Styles toward More Effective Leadership and Communication

89%

48%

Awareness of Communication Patterns on Farm

78%

33%

Effective Communication Tools for Farm

78%

37%

Understanding Diverse Ways People Seek Recognition

78%

40%

Conflict Resolution Skills for Farm

67%

32%

Sense of Yourself as a Leader

67%

30%

Session Summary

100%

 

Session Eight – Land Planning
Design Strategies to Build Resilient, Diversified Farms

92%

44%

Assess Management Considerations to Guide Land Planning

92%

58%

Prioritize Land and Infrastructure Development/Investments

83%

48%

How to Incorporate Natural Resource Issues into Land Planning

83%

46%

How to Incorporate Social/Legal/Contractual into Land Planning

75%

52%

How Permaculture Fits into Holistic Land Planning

75%

48%

Session Summary

100

 

Session Nine – Grazing
How to Determine the Number of Paddocks

91%

62%

How to Determine Grazing Periods

82%

60%

How to Assess Recovery Periods

82%

48%

How to Improve Land Health with Livestock

82%

52%

How to Determine Number of Animals Your Pasture Can Support

82%

67%

How to Assess Quantity of Forage in Pasture

73%

48%

Value of Grazing Planning

73%

56%

Session Summary

100%

 

Session Ten – Soil Fertility
Ability to Monitor Farm Eco-System Health

100%

52%

Understanding Eco-system Processes on Your Farm

82%

33%

Indicators of a Healthy Farm Eco-System

82%

45%

Importance of Improving Soil Fertility Sustainably

55%

22%

Benefits of a Covered Soil

55%

25%

Session Summary

100%

 

 

Increased Confidence as a Result of   Session

Confidence In. . .

Year   One
Ability to Identify Logjam/Adverse Factors

100%

Prioritizing Cutting Farm Expenses to Guide Re-investment

100%

Monitoring Your Farm Financial Plan

100%

Developing Written Whole Farm Goal

93%

Manage Your Time on Your Farm

93%

Make Complex Decisions on Your Farm

93%

Using Testing Questions

93%

Getting Profit You Need From Your Farm

93%

Identifying Cash Flow Issues on Farm

93%

Promoting Your Farm Products

90%

Developing a Marketing Plan that Meets Your Farm’s Needs and Goals

90%

Determine Your Farm’s Net Worth

87%

Determine Your Farm’s Projected Revenue

80%

Determining Weak Link in Farm Enterprises

80%

Increase Your Farm’s Net Worth

73%

Determine Viable Profitable Enterprises

73%

Pricing Your Farm Products

60%

Assessing Your Competition to Understand Your Farm’s Strengths

80%

Communicating with Decision Makers

78%

Developing a Business/Strategic Plan

73%

Delineating Farm Resources for Management

57%

Building an Effective Management Team

57%

Identifying Systems and Protocols for your Farm

57%

Communicating with Farm Workers

67%

Providing Recognition for Farm Workers

56%

Providing Leadership on Your Farm

89%

Ability to Prioritize Land/Infrastructure Improvements on Farm

92%

Natural Resource Management
Ability to Incorporate Natural Resource Issues into Land Planning

100%

Assessing Recovery Periods

100%

Calculating the Number of Paddocks for your System

100%

Determining the Number of Animals Your Land Can Support for Grazing

91%

Determining How Long Animals Will Stay in Each Paddock

91%

Assessing Quantity of Forage and Pasture

91%

Ability as a Grazer

82%

Monitoring Your Farm’s Eco-System Health

73%

Improving Eco-System Health on Your Farm

73%

Building Organic Matter in Your Soils

73%

Ability to Incorporate Social/Legal Considerations into Land Planning

67%

 

Intention to Change Behavior

% of participants
Human Resources
Implement Time Management Tools or Processes

100%

Using Testing Questions for On Farm Decisions Making

100%

Change Leadership Practices

100%

Develop a Whole Farm Goal

92%

Change Management Practices

83%

Financial Resources
Complete or Modify a Financial Plan

100%

Complete or Modify a Marketing Plan

90%

Determine Profit Up Front and Cap Expenses

87%

Change Marketing Practices

80%

Monitor Financial Plan

73%

Change Enterprise Assessment

67%

Prioritize and Cut Expenses

67%

Enter Financial Data Regularly

67%

Complete or Modify a Business Plan

64%

Change Record-Keeping

60%

Strategically Reinvest in Farm

53%

Natural Resource Management
Conduct Biological Monitoring on Farm

91%

Change Eco-System Health Practices

91%

Complete or Modify Written Land Plan

75%

Change Land Management Practices

58%

Complete or Modify Written Grazing Plan

55%

Change Grazing Practices

64%

 

BWF PARTICIPANT BEHAVIOR CHANGE

% of participants experiencing change

Holistic Goal/Whole Farm Plan

82%

Financial Plan

82%

Forge Relationships That Positively Impacted You

82%

Grazing Plan

80%

Business Plan

55%

Marketing Plan

45%

Land Plan

45%

 

Post-Program Satisfaction Changes

Topic

% Participants Experiencing

Change

Satisfaction with Ability to Determine Needed Profit

100%

Satisfaction with Ability to Make Complex Decisions

100%

Satisfaction with Quality of Life

80%

Satisfaction with Communication

89%

Satisfaction with Time Management

82%

 


Session Satisfaction

Class Percent rated good or excellent

Session   One

92%

Session   Two

100%

Session   Three

100%

Session   Four

100%

Session   Five

100%

Session   Six

55%

Session   Seven

89%

Session   Eight

92%

Session   Nine

100%

Session   Ten

100%

 

Post-Session Impacts

 

Impacts Experienced Percent of Participants
Human Resources
Clearer sense of what your farm is managing towards

100%

Better Ability to Determine Resources Available to You

91%

Improved Decision Making

82%

New Policies and Systems Implemented

55%

Better Relationships

55%

Financial Resources
New or Improved Record Keeping Systems

73%

Changes in How Your Prioritize Expenses

73%

Improved Ability to Incorporate Social, Environmental, and Financial into Your Land Plan

73%

Enhanced Understanding of Your Farm Finances

64%

Improved Ability to Prioritize Land Planning Investments

55%

Natural Resources

 

Improved Understanding of Your Farm’s Eco-System

82%

Improved Ability to Determine Appropriate Management to Address an Environmental Issue

73%

Improved Ability to Articulate Goals and Objectives of Business to Others

73%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Blueprint: Averting Global Collapse by Daniel Rirdan

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A new book has recently hit the market, The Blueprint: Averting Global Collapse, by Daniel Rirdan and you can get it free on Kindle from Amazon on July 25th and 26th at: http://www.amazon.com/The-Blueprint-Averting-Collapse-ebook/dp/B008MBG094.

Mr Rirdan has taken on the task of quantifying a number of big issues and exploring elegant solutions for those problems. He contacted HMI awhile back to explore the idea of improving rangeland health and increasing carbon sequestration with livestock. Like many environmental writers he had assumed livestock were bad for the land. But, unlike many people with biases against livestock, he wanted to understand how livestock could improve land health. In exploring these ideas, one of his key ideas to avert global collapse is to have Holistic Management practiced on the 6.5 billion hectares of rangeland and crop/pasture land worldwide.

Looking at current global livestock numbers of 2.24 billion SAU as well as the number of acres of rangeland and crop/pasture land, he notes we can, with some conservative carrying capacities that would improve over time with holistic planned grazing,  carry 10.33 billion livestock to create food security and increase land health. Sounds like a noble idea worth trying.

To herd the numbers of livestock we have globally would require 2.5 million herders (assuming 1000 head/herder). This would not be possible in many places in the U.S. so we would need many more here which would help us reach the 52 million farmers we need to create a more sustainable ratio of farmer/consumer as we once had.

Of course the devil is in the detail as we look at large tracts of public and private land and making shifts in management practices, but the big picture is breath-taking. So is the results of individual Holistic Management practitioners who are highlighted in the book like Chad Peterson, Greg Judy, Joel Salatin, Tony and Jerry Tipton, and Neil Dennis. These stories give the public an idea of how these practices have already been put into effect and are successful. The challenge is getting the system to shift so that such practitioners are more the norm.

So his suggestion is to take 700,000 sq miles of the Great Plains and start a “nature restoration.” That would require 50 million cows, 45% of the cattle inventory for the US, to get the ball rolling. Anyone interested in playing?

If you want to shake people up and introduce them to some big ideas, I suggest you introduce them to The Blueprint. Be ready to answer the questions that will immerge from that provocative read.

To purchase The Blueprint, click here.

What Does It Take to Have a Successful Kids On the Land Program?

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Of course, you must have a site, a school, and a desire to help kids experience the outdoors, but I have found that the most important ingredient is the volunteers who come to lead the activities.  As Kids On the Land (KOL) began to grow, I knew I would have to increase the number of people who would help at each site.

In 2005, I held my first KOL training for volunteers, who at that training, decided that we should call the volunteers LINKs (Learning In Nature with Kids).  These folks came for several days of training and then finished the week working with the students who arrived from Crockett County and Schleicher County school districts near Ozona, Texas.   When the program expanded to Jacksboro, Texas, I held another training session and recruited folks from North Central Texas.  Over the years, simply by word of mouth, the number of LINKs has continued to grow.  Many who have volunteered have special knowledge and skills they want to share and others just say, “I’ll do whatever you want.”

Most KOL days average 70-75 kids a day and since we conduct our activities in small groups, I like to have 2 to 3 LINKs helping with each group activity.  With four major activities, that means we need 10-12 folks volunteering each day.   With 3 grades participating at the Richards Ranch in Jacksboro, many LINKs came for the preparation day and participated the next three days.  That is a real commitment of time and energy as we begin at 7:30; kids arrive at 8:45; and leave at 2:45.  But the day is not over because we evaluate and then set up for the next day.

Over the years, I have been honored by their willingness to participate as the KOL program continues to grow.  They remind me of this Rachel Carson quote which says, ““If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength. If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder without any such gift from the fairies, he needs the championship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”

HMI continues to offer folks the opportunity to be that adult who can help keep alive a child’s inborn sense of wonder with its KOL program.  The next one on the schedule is at the 69 Ranch at Maryneal, Texas.  Do you have a desire to help the kids from 3 small school districts to learn more about their place on the Rolling Plains of West Texas?  We’ll be there on September 18 and 19.  For information about the Kids On the Land program go to the HMI website – www.holisticmanagement.org.

Links, Bryon Haney & Johnnie Jackson, prepare materials for insect relay races for 3rd graders from Jacksboro, Texas, Elementary.

 

 

 

HMI Publishes 2011 Annual Report

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HMI, Holistic Management International, Annual Report 2011We are pleased to announce our 2011 Annual Report is complete and ready to download.  We are proud of our accomplishments – which of course, we could not do without the generous support of donations from our community.   Many thanks to all of you who contributed in 2011. We are very excited by the growth and progress being made in our mission to educate people to manage land for a sustainable future. We hope that you will join our community of change by making a donation in 2012.

 

HMI Receives Recognition for Communications & Outreach Efforts

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One of our 2011/2012 strategic goals — which are aligned with our Holistic Plan– is to build HMI’s brand through effective communication. Last night, HMI was recognized by the New Mexico American Marketing Association for our efforts. We won two awards…. The 23rd Annual Marketer of the Year Compass Award for Collateral and the Award of Merit for Interactive Media. We could not have won these awards with out our vendors, who work tirelessly to help us get the message out about the benefits of practicing Holistic Management and the wonderful work the staff at HMI does everyday.  A big thanks to….

HMI Healthly Land, Sustainable Future Wins New Mexico American Marketing Association AwardsTravis Driscoll, Mudhouse Advertising

Lauren MacEwen,  SM Cubed

Bethany Martin, B Martin Studio

Rita Talbot, Artifacts

 

 

 

 

Perennial Grass versus Alfalfa Comparison

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HMI Certified Educator Owen Hablutzel, working with an agricultural producer in southern New Mexico, analyzed the benefit of whether to plant perennial grasses or alfalfa in a new irrigation pivot. Annual gross income from the grasses at 2 tons/acre @ $600/ton would be $168,000 or a gross profit of $120,800 or $862/acre. On the other hand, alfalfa brings in $240/ton resulting in $67,200/year or $12,400 gross profit for $89/acre gross profit. Moreover, the grasses or more resilient to floods or droughts and there is more of a market for it.

Owen also did some Keyline plowing to improve water infiltration and jump start the biological processes. You can see the results in terms of increased plant matter protecting and holding soil in the following before and after pictures.

 

 

 

To learn more about this type of on-farm research, subscribe to HMI’s journal, IN PRACTICE.

Holistic Management International Hires New Director of Development

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Albuquerque, NM. Holistic Management International (HMI) has hired Matt Parrack as Director of Development.

Parrack has over a decade of experience in business development in the health care information technology industry, most recently for Nuesoft Technologies in Marietta, Georgia. He holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University in Atlanta. -30-

About HMI

HMI is an Albuquerque-based international non-profit organization whose mission is to educate people to manage land for a sustainable future.  They believe people count, healthy land is essential, and money matters. They accomplish their mission by delivering a variety of programs and services designed to educate and support farmers, ranchers and land stewards in their efforts to enhance the land through Holistic Management®, a whole ranch/farm planning system. Currently, there are 40 million acres of land on four continents under Holistic Management.

Why Outdoor Education?

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HMI’s slogan, “healthy land, sustainable future,” reflects our philosophy of educating land stewards about smart land use, while assisting them to enhance the land’s natural productivity.  HMI’s Kids On the Land (KOL) program reflects that belief and also the idea that a healthy appreciation for nature education can be learned at a young age.  Recent books and articles support this idea of reconnecting kids to the land. 

Robert Cook of Texas Parks & Wildlife Department stated, “A good dose of the outdoors may prove to be a powerful antidote for many of the things that ail kids today!”

The National Football League even has commercials encouraging kids to get outside.

Richard Louv, in his book, Last Child Left In the Woods, and on his website  says children no longer have places to play.  He reminds us to think about our relationship with nature and how it was formed. Those of us who grew up in the 40’s & 50’s can do that, but for many today sending kids outside to play is increasingly difficult. Computers, television, and video games compete for their time. Also our fears of traffic, strangers, and both parents working keep children indoors or in organized activities. Schools have become more test-oriented and even recess is being cut out of daily school schedules. What we have been left with are eight year old kids who are better able to identify cartoon characters than native species, such as beetles and oak trees in their neighborhood.  Finally, he challenges those in agriculture to use your farms or ranches as the new school yards.

The Oxford Junior Dictionary’s newest edition no longer defines more than 30 nature words, including “dandelion,” “otter,” “acorn” and “beaver.” In their place, a child will now find definitions for such terms as “MP3 player,” “blog” and “cut and paste.” “Making room in the junior dictionary for a new lexicon of technology and communications may be a good thing for children, provided they are not also denied definitions as basic as that of the flower growing on their own lawn,” says Kevin Coyle, NWF vice president for education and training.

Do you remember the first time your curiosity was stirred by nature?  Rachel Carson is quoted in the book, The Earth Speaks, that every child needs the companionship of one adult who can introduce them to nature, rediscovering with them the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.

HMI’s KOL program is now scheduling its 2012 activities and we will be connecting over 300 children to nature and the land where they live.  There is a guide for developing your own program offered as a free download on the HMI website. Check it out and see if you want to be the adult who introduced a child to the wonders of nature or used his farm/ranch as the next school yard.

HMI Board Changes

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HMI Board Changes

With HMI’s annual Board of Directors’ Meeting in November we have a change in our Board make up as Board member terms end and officers are elected. New Board officers are: Sallie Calhoun, Chair; Ben Bartlett, Past Chair; Clint Josey, Vice Chair; Ron Chapman, Secretary; and Jim Shelton, Treasurer. We would like to thank Lee Dueringer, John Hackley, Jim McMullan, and Ian Mitchell-Innes for their service to and support of HMI over the years. We also are excited to introduce our new Directors, Wayne Knight and ZiZi Fritz .

Wayne Knight

Wayne is a fourth generation farmer on his family’s property near Mokopane in Limpopo Province, South Africa.  Wayne has had a long history with Holistic Management when his parents where some of Allan Savory and Stan Parson’s early clients in the 1970s. Wayne graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics from Natal University. Following a working tour in the USA in 1994 he returned to the family property to encourage intensifying the practice of Holistic Management under the mentorship of Dick Richardson. Wayne had a wonderful 14 year working relationship with his father, who has now retired. Wayne completed his Certified Educator training in 2006. He now manages the family property and leases neighboring farms on which he practices holistic planned grazing. He has also presented Holistic Management training

Aside from his passion for Holistic Management, Wayne has been a member of Round Table, served on his local town’s Chamber of Business Executive Committee, and chaired or participated in a number of rural groupings concerned with local land owner issues.  Wayne is a hunting guide, a keen fisherman and part time painter. Wayne is married to Hilary and has three beautiful young children.

Zizi Fritz

Cézanne C. “Zizi” Fritz is a native New Mexican. Her family came to Albuquerque in the late 1870s by way of covered wagon and settled in the city to start a furniture and crockery store and “undertaker” business. In 1988, Zizi had been a fifth generation family manager in funeral service when the firm sold Strong-Thorne Mortuary.

Zizi’s professional career spans many years with an international funeral service organization where she managed 14 local funeral homes and cemeteries in New Mexico and Texas. She has been privileged to have worked in the public accounting sector and assisted with the start-up of a trust company. She served as the Executive Director of an assisted living retirement community in Lubbock, Texas and most recently served as the Vice President and Executive Director of the Presbyterian Healthcare Foundation since 2003.

This last year, education about global affairs became a focus and travel took her to 48 countries around the world. Community service and leadership have always been a part of Zizi’s other life having served and led numerous boards over the years. Welcome Zizi and Wayne!

When you donate to HMI good things happen!

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HMI Healthy land, sustainable futureOur Annual Appeal is in the mail, and once again, we are counting on the support of the Holistic Management International community. This year, it’s more important than ever to support our mission to educate people to manage land for a sustainable future. Studies have shown that ranch and farm land continues to disappear at an alarming rate; so much that USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack recently called for an additional 100,000 farmers in order to sustain food production in the U.S.

For over 27 years, HMI has been delivering results oriented programs that help farmers and ranchers stay on their land. While more farmers are a good start, we all know that the real issue is making sure that ALL farmers and ranchers can build and maintain a sustainable, successful agricultural business.HMI Healthy Land, Sustainable Future women With Cow

Your support will help us maintain and grow the programs that are designed to educate and support agricultural professionals in order to maintain healthy land, that in turn produces healthy food.

So if you like healthy land and healthy food, please consider a gift to HMI today. You can click here to donate or you can mail a check to:

Holistic Management International
5941 Jefferson St. Suite B
Albuquerque, NM 87109

Once again, we thank you for your support, and wish all of you a successful, sustainable 2012!