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%

 

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%

 

 

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%

 

Beginning Women Farmer in Texas 2015 Report

 

Beginning women farmers in Texas take turns explaining their land plan options in experiential exercises.

Beginning women farmers in Texas take turns explaining their land plan options in experiential exercises.

HMI’s 2015 Beginning Farmers & Ranchers: Women in the NE & Texas program funded by the USDA/NIFA Beginning Farmer/Rancher Development Program, has been going full steam through the winter and spring with some states beginning to wrap up. The Texas program coordinated by HMI’s Program Manager, Peggy Cole, completed all 10 sessions by the end of February. Lead instructor was Holistic Management Certified Educator Peggy Sechrist and mentors for the program were Tracy Litle, Lauri Celella, Kathy Harris, Pam Mitchell, Lauren Bradbury, and Katherine Napper, and CD Pounds. We’ve been busy entering the data and crunching the numbers. Thanks to the USDA/NIFA BFRDP for their support of this program.

Here’s what we’ve learned from our 33 Texas participants who graduated:

Land Planning exercise during Beginning Women Farmer Training

Land Planning exercise during Beginning Women Farmer Training

Demographics

Of the 28 participants responding

  • 27 are currently farming and all plan to continue farming
  • The average years of farming was 4 years (range: 0.2 to 9 years)
  • The average acres under production was 89 acres under production (range: 0.5 to 500 acres) with a total of 2569 under production
  • The average age was 47 years old (range: 24 to 75 years old)
  • The total retail customers of all participants was : 624 and 18 wholesale customers
  • 33 participants were trained and 32 graduated for a 97% graduation rate
  • Overall satisfaction of the program was an average of 94%
Beginning women farmers in Texas explore land planning options

” Beginning women farmers in Texas explore land planning options

Here’s what the participants had to say:

“The network has introduced resources and expertise I may never have encountered.”

“The network has supported me in many ways. With my mentor – my mentor supports me and assists me with such unparalleled generosity and expertise and kindness. She is an invaluable gift. With my mentee team – my fellow mentees are also great supports.”

“I think the relationships I made here have saved my mental health and will greatly enhance my effectiveness as a person for as long as I live.”

“The suggestions from others are invaluable. Seeing what others are doing helps generate ideas.”

“In the BWF network we have teamed up, borrowed equipment, bought/sold equipment & goods/services, exchanged information, troubleshooting, delivered programming, met with 3rd party & mutual friends, been introduced to new clients, etc.”

“My mentor visits are very helpful! Great ideas & knowledge!”

“It helps to know my decisions and goals are shared by others who also struggle to succeed – and some have made it!”

“My mentor will walk the land with me to help me understand our next steps.”

“The relationships w/fellow classmates is incredible.”

“I have made connections that led to borrowing equipment free of charge, volunteer labor and new customer base.”

“I feel like the class provided an inspiring network of other beginning & established farms & ranches with a wealth of knowledge & resource. Learned of new mentors & programs.”

“I know I can turn to many of these women, especially in my management club, with questions or for help in need. To have this support is invaluable.”

 

Katherine Napper Ottmer reviewing the testing questions during a land planning class.

Katherine Napper Ottmer reviewing the testing questions during a land planning class.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Results of Surveys

BWF PARTICIPANT BEHAVIOR CHANGE (completion of plans) % of participants
Holistic Goal/Whole Farm Plan 97%
Financial Plan 93%
Business Plan 78%
Marketing Plan 81%
Land Plan 100%
Biological Monitoring 90%
Grazing Plan (grazers in group) 95%
Forge Relationships That Positively Impacted You 100%

 

Tracy Litle explains concepts of brainstorming options during land planning

Tracy Litle explains concepts of brainstorming options during land planning

Post-Program Outcome Changes
Topic % Participants ExperiencingChange
Increased satisfaction with Quality of Life 79%
Increased satisfaction with Communication 86%
Increased satisfaction with Time Management 86%
Increased satisfaction with Ability to Determine Needed Profit 93%
Increased satisfaction with Ability to Make Complex Decisions 97%

 

 

Post-Session Impacts Achieved Percent of Participants
Human Resource Management  
Clearer sense of what you are managing towards 100%
Better Ability to Determine Resources Available to You 100%
More Efficient Use of Resources 90%
Improved Communications on the Farm 86%
Improved Decision Making 90%
New Policies and Systems Implemented 83%
Better Relationships 79%
Financial Resource Management  
Increased Farm Profits 21%
Increased Net Worth 21%
Increased Gross Income as result of training 43%
Ability to Identify Business Challenges from Previous Years 76%
Strategies for More Effective Reinvestment in the Business 83%
New or Improved Record Keeping Systems 76%
Enhanced Understanding of Your Farm Finances 79%
Changes in How Your Prioritize Expenses 83%
Reduced Farm Expenses 38%
Improved Ability to Prioritize Land Planning Investments 86%
Improved Ability to Incorporate Social, Environmental, and Financial into Your Land Plan 86%
Improved Ability to Articulate Goals and Objectives of Business to Others 83%
Improved Understanding of your Market and How Your Business Fits In 69%
Prioritized investments 66%
Improved ability to determine most effective enterprises 76%
Improved ability to effectively market products 62%
Natural Resource Management  
Achievement of Environmental Goals in Your Land Plan 48%
Increased Forage Production 24%
Reduction in Feed Costs 43%
Improved Environmental Conditions 48%
Improved Herd Health 43%
Improved Ability to Manage Animals 81%
Less Stress for Farmers 52%
Less Stress for Animals 52%
Longer Grazing Seasons 24%
Reduction of Overgrazed Plants 48%
Improved Understanding of Your Farm’s Eco-System 100%
Improved Ability to Determine Appropriate Management to Address an Environmental Issue 86%
Implementation of Specific Management Practices to Remediate an Environmental Issue 79%
Improved Understanding of Your Forage Composition 83%
Improved Environmental Conditions on Your Farm 59%
Desired Change in Species Composition 55%

 

Knowledge Change Summary Per Session
Course % Participants Experiencing Knowledge Change
Session One – Goal Setting
Defining Effective Management Team 85%
Inventory Farm Resources 85%
Develop a Whole Farm Goal 94%
Define What You Are Managing Towards 85%
Identify Needed Farm Systems and Protocols 79%
Integrate Social, Economic, and Environmental Factors into Decision-Making 94%
Session Two – Time Management
Ability to Make Complex On-Farm Decisions 97%
Assess How Time is Spent on Farm 100%
Understanding Seasonal Time Demands/Flows 88%
Effectively Manage Time on Your Farm 97%
Session Three – Financial Planning I
Attitude Toward Financial Planning 76%
Ability to Develop Balance Sheet 83%
How to Increase Farm Net Worth 86%
Determining Viable Profitable Enterprises for Your Farm 93%
Determining Your Farm’s Projected Revenue 90%
Identifying Logjams and Adverse Factors on Farm 97%
Session Four – Financial Planning II  
Skills in Developing Whole Farm Financial Plan 100%
Getting Profit You Need from Your Farm 88%
Delineating Farm Expense Categories 88%
Prioritizing and Cutting Farm Expenses to Guide Reinvestment 92%
Assessing Farm Cash Flow 92%
Monitoring Your Financial Plan 92%
Session Five – Marketing  
Using Whole Farm Goal and Financial Plan to Develop Marketing Plan 100%
Profitably Price Products and Services 93%
Effectively Promote Products and Services 86%
Marketing Outreach Towards Your Whole Farm Goal 93%
How to Develop a Marketing Plan 86%
Session Six – Business Planning
Knowledge of Resources for Developing Strategic Plan for Farm 93%
Attitudes Towards Value of Having a Business Plan to Guide Farm 74%
Ability to Develop a Business Plan for Farm 89%
Ability to Use Holistic Goal to Guide Business Strategic Plan 96%
Ability to Use Financial Plan to Determine Viable Markets for Farm 89%
Ability to Implement Systems and Projects to Move Towards Whole Farm Goal 89%
Session Seven – Leadership and Communication
Effective Communication Tools for Farm 85%
Conflict Resolution Skills for Farm 85%
Incorporating Diverse Learning Styles toward More Effective Leadership and Communication 85%
Using Whole Farm Goal to Guide Communication on Farm 85%
Session Eight – Land Planning
Prioritize Land and Infrastructure Development/Investments 84%
Design Strategies to Build Resilient, Diversified Farms 97%
Assess Management Considerations to Guide Land Planning 87%
How to Incorporate Natural Resource Issues into Land Planning 87%
How to Incorporate Social/Legal/Contractual into Land Planning 81%
Session Nine – Grazing
Value of Grazing Planning 89%
How to Assess Recovery Periods 100%
How to Assess Quantity of Forage in Pasture 96%
How to Improve Land Health with Livestock 100%
How to Determine Number of Animals Your Pasture Can Support 93%
How to Determine the Number of Paddocks 96%
How to Determine Grazing Periods 100%
Session Ten – Soil Fertility
Importance of Improving Soil Fertility Sustainably 71%
Value of Organic Matter in Soils 79%
Benefits of a Covered Soil 82%
Benefits of Biodiversity 79%
Indicators of a Healthy Farm Eco-System 86%
Ability to Monitor Farm Eco-System Health 96%

 

Increased Confidence as a Result of Session % of participants
Developing Written Whole Farm Goal 94%
Identifying Systems and Protocols for your Farm 82%
Manage Your Time on Your Farm 100%
Make Complex Decisions on Your Farm 97%
Using Testing Questions for On Farm Analysis 97%
Determine Your Farm’s Net Worth 83%
Increase Your Farm’s Net Worth 69%
Determine Viable Profitable Enterprises 76%
Getting Profit You Need From Your Farm 65%
Prioritizing Cutting Farm Expenses to Guide Re-investment 69%
Determining Weak Link in Farm Enterprises 81%
Identifying Cash Flow Issues on Farm 73%
Pricing Your Farm Products 72%
Promoting Your Farm Products 90%
Developing a Marketing Plan that Meets Your Farm’s Needs and Goals 83%
Assessing Your Competition to Understand Your Farm’s Strengths 66%
Developing a Business/Strategic Plan 89%
Identifying Resources to Assist You in Developing a Business/Strategic Plan 89%
Implementing Important Strategic Systems and Projects 89%
Communicating with Decision Makers 81%
Communicating with Farm Workers 81%
Providing Leadership on Your Farm 78%
Ability to Prioritize Land/Infrastructure Improvements on Farm 94%
Ability to Incorporate Natural Resource Issues into Land Planning 94%
Ability to Incorporate Social/Legal Considerations into Land Planning 71%
Ability as a Grazer 89%
Assessing Recovery Periods 81%
Assessing Quantity of Forage and Pasture 81%
Determining the Number of Animals Your Land Can Support for Grazing 78%
Calculating the Number of Paddocks for your System 78%
Determining How Long Animals Will Stay in Each Paddock 74%
Monitoring Your Farm’s Eco-System Health 100%
Improving Eco-System Health on Your Farm 89%
Building Organic Matter in Your Soils 79%

 

                       

2014 Maine Beginning Women Farmer Program Results

Beginning women farmers learn about grazing and animal husbandry as part of on-farm sessions

We’ve just tabulated more results of our Beginning Farmers & Ranchers: Women in the Northeast & Texas program. These are from the 2013-2014 season in Maine. This program, funded by a grant from

On-farm learning activities as part of the Maine Beginning Women Farmer Soil Fertility session

On-farm learning activities as part of the Maine Beginning Women Farmer Soil Fertility session

the USDA/NIFA Beginning Farmer/Rancher Development Program, was coordinated by Gail Chase of Women’s Agricultural Network of Maine. This group finished their Holistic Management learning sessions in June and their final farm mentor visits in July. Lead instructors were Whole Farm Planning Instructors Gail Chase and Diane Schivera. Diane was also the mentor for the program as a collaboration with Maine Organic Gardeners and Farmers Association.

Of the participants responding to the final evaluation

  • 70% are currently farming
  • The average years of farming was 3 years
  • The average acres under production was 7 acres under production
  • The average age was 39 years old
  • The types of farm operations were as follows: Cattle/Cow/Calf (2), Vegetable/Fruit/Produce (4), Poultry (1), Goat (1), Pork (2), Flowers (2), Eggs (1).
  • The total customers of all participants was 72
  • 100% plan to continue farming

What Participants Had to Say:

“I now have tools to help me determine what enterprises to start.”

“I have better relationships with my customers because I needed to talk to each of them about raising prices. I learned how much they value my product.”

“Because of the class teachers and class members, I have much more confidence in my ability to really figure out my finances. I think this confidence has helped me approach wholesale markets.”

Some of the key outcomes noted were:

BWF PARTICIPANT BEHAVIOR CHANGE % of participants
Forge Relationships That Positively Impacted You 100%
Holistic Goal/Whole Farm Plan 100%
Financial Plan 100%
Marketing Plan 86%
Biological Monitoring 86%
Grazing Plan 50%
Business Plan 17%

 

 

Key Post Program Outcomes: Participants Experienced Increase In % Participants Experiencing Change
Satisfaction with Communication 100%
Satisfaction with Time Management 100%
Satisfaction with Ability to Determine Needed Profit 100%
Satisfaction with Ability to Make Complex Decisions 100%
Satisfaction with Quality of Life 83%
A layer hoophouse at Glass Horse Farm

A layer hoophouse at Glass Horse Farm

To read the full report, click here.

 

NY Senator meets with women farmers

Senator Tkaczyk, Senator Gillibrand, and HMI’s New York Beginning Women Farmer Coordinator, Sarah Williford.

Senator Tkaczyk, Senator Gillibrand, and
HMI’s New York Beginning Women Farmer
Coordinator, Sarah Williford.

On Sunday July 20th graduates of the HMI’s Beginning Farmers & Ranchers: Women in the Northeast  program as well as a wider group of NY women farmers gathered for a roundtable event with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and New York State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk. Twenty-five women farmers of all ages, stages and production, plus fifteen or so agency folks and local politicians were there to represent a diversity of experience at the Crossroads Brewery in Athens NY. They discussed affordable and secure access to land including wanting land held by non-profits to ensure that farmland will be farmed in perpetuity, access to capital for women farmers, migrant labor ,and  excessive regulations creating obstacles and high costs for slaughterhouses to exist. Senator Tkaczyk, a NY woman farmer herself, offered that access to capital is a major  obstacle for women farmers, and suggested looking for alternative lending institutions outside of banks. Senator Gillibrand noted that women have the gift of collaboration and can use it to support one another. Both Senator Tkaczyk and Senator Gillibrand will be following up with the group through an Agriculture working group

Whole Farm Marketing and Business Planning in Mora, New Mexico

HMI completed the 3rd and final module of our Whole Farm Business Planning Series with 25 participants involved with the Los de Mora Local Growers Cooperative near Whole Farm Business Planning, Mora, HMIMora, New Mexico at the end of March.  The focus of this session was on marketing and business planning including how to do market survey, determine market demographics, complete a competition analysis, determine appropriate markets, develop SMART goals, and develop the outline of a business plan within the context of whole farm planning.

Cindy D, Holistic Management Certified EducatorHolistic Management Certified Educator, Cindy Dvergsten was the instructor for this module. Evaluation of this session showed that participants experienced a significant knowledge increase in identifying logjams and how to create a profit, as well as how to prioritize and cut expenses.

Our thanks to the Thornburg Foundation for their grant in support of this series.

Testimonials

“The one-on-one help was great!”

 “I learned that numbers make a big difference once in   place and to always ask why.”

“Key learnings were the significance of planning for profit, cooperation, clarity, wise mentoring, and professionalism.”

 “I learned key pricing guidelines and the relationship to  competition.”

“I better understand customers and competition.”

“I learned how to reach a breakeven point.”

Whole Farm Marketing and Business Planning Results

Knowledge/Confidence Increase

% Increase

Understanding of how your whole farm goal and financial plan help you develop a marketing plan   that fits your farm

100%

Your knowledge about where to turn for resources to assist in developing a business/strategic plan   for your farm

100%

Your ability to develop a business plan for your farm

100%

Your ability to use your holistic goal  to guide your business/strategic plan

100%

Your ability to use your financial plan to determine viable markets for your farm

100%

Your ability to implement systems and projects to move you toward your whole farm goal

100%

Developing a business/strategic plan

100%

Identifying resources to assist you in developing a business/strategic plan

100%

Implementing important strategic systems and projects on your farm

94%

Pricing your products

94%

Promoting your farm products

94%

Your attitude towards the value of having a business/strategic plan to guide your farm

91%

Understanding your competition

90%

How your marketing outreach reflects your whole farm goal

90%

How to develop a Marketing Plan

90%

Developing a marketing plan that meets your farm needs and goals

83%

How to use your financial plan to profitably price your products/services

80%

How to effectively promote your products/services

80%

Assessing your competition to understand your farm strengths

72%

Intended Behavior Change

% of Participants

Intend to complete or modify a marketing plan for your farm

100%

Intend to complete or modify a business plan for your farm

100%

Do you intend to change management practices as a result of this session?

90%

Do you intend to change any marketing practices as a result of this session?

56%

Participant Satisfaction

Satisfaction with Session

90%

Satisfaction with Instructor

90%

Whole Farm Business Planning Program Continues in Mora, New Mexico

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

HMI completed the 2nd module of our Whole Farm Business Planning Series with 25 participants involved with the Los de Mora Local Growers Cooperative near Mora, New Mexico in the middle of March.  The focus of this session was on financial planning—particularly gross profit analysis, enterprise investment analysis, determining net worth, and mapping out a cash forecast.

Holistic Management Certified Educators, Ann Adams and Cindy Dvergsten were the instructors for this module. Evaluation of this session showed that participants experienced a significant knowledge increase in identifying logjams and how to create a profit, as well as how to prioritize and cut expenses.

Certified Educator Cindy Dvergsten explaining financial management to Mora Co-op growers.

Our thanks to the Thornburg Foundation for their grant in support of this series and to Farm Credit and Rocky Mountain Farmers Union for their support of the Financial Planning Module.

Introduction to Whole Farm Planning Results

Knowledge/Confidence Increase % Increase
Identifying logjams and adverse factors on your farm 97%
Getting the profit you need from your farm 85%
Prioritizing and cutting farm expenses to guide reinvestment in your farm 84%
Monitoring Financial Plan 76%
Determining your farm’s projected revenue 75%
Developing a whole farm financial plan 73%
Assessing the cash flow of your plan 67%
How to increase farm net worth 55%
Determining viable profitable enterprises for your farm 53%
Intended Behavior Change % of Participants
Intend to complete or modify a financial plan for your farm

94%

Record keeping

78%

Determining profit upfront and capping expenses

67%

Using the annual income and expense template

61%

Involving decision makers in financial planning

61%

Strategically reinvesting in your farm

56%

Entering financial data regularly

56%

Prioritizing and cutting expenses

56%

Monitoring the annual income and expense template

56%

Enterprise assessment

50%

Participant Satisfaction  
Satisfaction with Session 90%
Satisfaction with Instructor 90%

 

 

Whole Farm Planning Training for Ag Educators Results

Our Whole Farm Planning Training for Ag Educators program began this winter and we are pleased to report on  initial results from the participants. This unique distance learning program is being funded by Western Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education (WSARE). We started in  January with 40 agricultural educators and professionals  throughout 12 western states and we just finished the Introduction to Whole Farm Planning course taught by Certified Educators Phil Metzger and Seth Wilner.

Here are the results.

Introduction to Whole Farm Planning Results

Knowledge/Confidence Increase

% Increase

Ability to develop a Whole Farm Goal

103%

Ability to integrate social, economic and environmental factors into your decisions

79%

Ability to identify needed systems and protocols to create a successful farm

94%

Ability to make complex on-farm decisions

67%

Behavior Change

% of Participants

Partial completion of whole farm goal

97%

Participant Satisfaction
Satisfaction with Instructors

90%

 

Participants also noted some of the following things they liked about the course:

“I have TOTALLY enjoyed this course and am eagerly looking forward to the next one.”
“The information was very useful and the instructors were excellent. Really appreciated their willingness to schedule extras time and comment on resubmitted assignments.”
“Overall I thought it was great and I look forward to continued conversation and interaction.”
“The webinars were excellent. Seth and Phil did a great job of giving the content via stories and personal experience which is always much easier to stay engaged with and retain.”
“This program was just right, well done, and if you wanted to put more time into it nobody is stopping you. The workbook was a wonderful addition and allowed one to easily go deeper. There is a lot of information in the manual, which meshed nicely with Internet-based training.”
“I learned a very well thought out process for assessing a farming operation and making smart decisions that move you in a direction you and all your management team want to go. It’s a very powerful process and it allows me to utilize all my disparate knowledge in a very structured and directed process that makes information easily available and apparent to my clients.”
“It helped me to see that brittle environments are more common in farming than I realized. I’m more aware of the systems and cycles and the concept of “holistic” than previously. It’s interesting to participate in the class with folks from different states/bioregions. I’m on the lookout for more indicators of ecosystem health, than before. It makes me look at client’s farm/production issues with “new eyes”. I attended a meeting on farming in the drought—what measures producers can take to survive this low water year—and I kept thinking “holistic management”!”
“I’m raving to friends and family about what I’m learning and practicing on them to the point of annoyance. The amount of information I’ve received and the “wider view” of the course are priceless.”
“I think the most useful things have been learning about the triple bottom line and incorporating that in to the decision making process on the farm. I will definitely look more at the whole picture when clients come in with questions.”

Featured Participant

dave mDave Muehleisen

Dave is a member of the Faculty at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington where he teaches Sustainable Agriculture. Dave was the Education Director and Farm Manager at 21 Acres Sustainable Living Center in Woodinville, Washington. Prior to that, Dave was the Research and Outreach Coordinator for the Washington State University (WSU) Small Farms Program located in Puyallup, Washington. While at WSU his research focused on alternative nontoxic control of cabbage maggot and carrot rust fly, focusing on the strategic uses of bio-pesticides, cultural and mechanical control of insect pests.

Dave was born in Paterson, New Jersey and moved to South Carolina at the age of 17. He received his BS in Zoology and MS in Botany at Clemson University, and his PhD from Texas A&M University in Entomology with a focus on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Toxicology. Prior to coming to work for the WSU Small Farm Program, Dave was an Associate Professor of Biology at The University of Utah teaching Human Physiology, Entomology and biochemistry. Dave was a National Institute of Mental Health Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, working on Insect Developmental Neuroendocrinology.

 

 

HMI Offers Whole Farm Business Planning in Mora, New Mexico

Lunch time allows time for participants to network.

Lunch time allows time for participants to network.

 

HMI is excited to announce the beginning of a Whole Farm Business Planning course near Mora, New Mexico. 30 participants involved with the Los de Mora Local Growers Cooperative committed to taking this 5-day series focused on On-Farm Decision Making, Financial Planning, Marketing Planning, and Business Planning. Many of the participants are also involved with the Sangre de Cristo Livestock Grower’s Association. Participants involved in that program are eligible for a gift of livestock if they complete HMI’s Whole Farm Business Planning course. Likewise, New Mexico Farm Service Agency (FSA) also recognizes this program as fulfilling their Borrower Training requirement for those borrowing from FSA.

Newcomers to the area had time to talk with long-time residents

Newcomers to the area had time to talk with long-time residents

Coordinator of the Los de Mora Local Growers Cooperative, Roger Gonzales, was instrumental in coordinating this event. Roger was a participant in an HMI educational program last year and was eager to offer HMI’s training for the producers who are involved in the Cooperative. The Cooperative also provided support for this programming by finding facilities and refreshments for the training sessions. The Cooperative buys from its members and sells to a variety of wholesale markets throughout New Mexico. They are also engaged with the Value-Added Partnership, and Una Vida Buena y Sana Local Growers.

Participants broke into small groups to begin exploring on-farm decisions

Participants broke into small groups to begin exploring on-farm decisions

Certified Educators Ann Adams and Cindy Dvergsten are the instructors for this series that runs through February and March with additional offsite mentoring on draft business plans through the month of April. All participants completing draft plans will receive a certificate of completion at a graduation ceremony in May.

Evaluation of this session showed that participants experienced a significant knowledge increase in how to develop a whole farm goal and how to integrate social, economic and environmental factors into decision making.

Our thanks to the Thornburg Foundation for their grant in support of this series and to Los Alamos Connect for sponsoring the lunch for the On Farm Goal workshop.

Introduction to Whole Farm Planning Results

Knowledge/Confidence Increase % Increase
Ability to develop a Whole Farm Goal 115%
Ability to integrate social, economic and environmental factors into your decisions 104%
Ability to identify needed systems and protocols to create a successful farm 96%
Ability to make complex on-farm decisions 90%
Are you more confident in your ability to make complex decisions on your farm as a result of today’s class? 88%
Intended Behavior Change % of Participants
Do you intend to complete or modify a written whole farm plan as a result of this course? 88%
Do you intend to use the testing questions in your farm decision making? 88%
Do you intend to change management practices as a result of this course? 81%
Participant Satisfaction  
Satisfaction with Session 89%
Satisfaction with Instructor 95%