Beginning Farmers & Ranchers


Helping their Field of Dreams Come True

Empowering Beginning Women Farmers through
Holistic Management® Whole Farm Planning

Meet the New Face of Agriculture

Apply now for  our 2015/2016 season in Texas. (We are accepting men and women this year.) E-mail Peggy Cole for details and an application. Deadline. August 10, 2015

“Without the program, I wouldn’t be able to make a living farming.” — Heather Driscoll, Green Valley Farm, LLC

Women are digging in and getting down to business. HMI’s Beginning Farmers & Ranchers Program is helping to show them the way. The objective of this program is to educate and empower these newcomers so they are positioned to apply Holistic Management principles and practices in order to build successful businesses. While the program can  be adapted to any group with less than ten years of experience, this implementation is focused on women farmers, where the need is great. Currently in the U.S. there are over one million farms run by women and because the USDA has identified a need for an additional 100,000 farmers in the next five years, the need for effective training programs is immense. That’s why the USDA NIFA BFRD program has awarded HMI 2 three-year training grants totaling $1,166,000.

2009-2012 – Grant #2009-49400-05967
2012-2015 – Grant #2012-49400-19673

“Being involved with this program has been significant for me — It’s given me a completely new approach to planning for my own land and farming aspirations.”
-Jessie Schmidt, First Branch Farm

Learning the Ropes

We teach the Holistic Management  whole farm/ranch planning system that helps farm and ranch families integrate economic, social, and ecological factors into their management decisions. Infused in this program are sessions to help farmers learn and implement leadership and communications skills. Participants gain sustainable cropping skills, livestock production skills, whole farm planning skills and gain entrepreneurial focus.

HMI is pleased to announce that this course, as well as a number of our other courses qualify for FSA Borrower Training Credit. Find out More.


Our past program participants have demonstrated remarkable achievements when they apply what they’ve learned to their farms and ranches.

  • Up to a 39% increase in gross revenue
  • Improved record keeping systems
  • Achieved financial goals
  • Improved on-farm decision making
  • Improved marketing skills
  • Improved animal health
  • Increased forage production

Course Curriculum

“Having a network of other women with similar passion and value is priceless. There is a wealth of information and experience we have been able to share – and will continue to share. We see a path to sustainability/profit and meeting our holistic goal.”
– Kathy Harris, Full Expression Farm

  • Introduce Holistic Management whole farm program
  • Create a whole farm financial plan
  • Increase farm profitability
  • Business planning basics
  • Create a marketing plan
  • Manage time
  • Understand soil fertility basics
  • Plan land and infrastructure
  • Improve land health & sustainable soil building techniques
  • Examine enterprise’s environmental impact
  • Introduce leadership/communication skills


Program Partners

HMI is proud to work with the following collaborators:

  • Women’s Agriculture Network
  • Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture
  • Small & Beginning Farmers of NH
  • Central NY RC&D
  • Vermont New Farmer Project
  • Vermont Women’s Ag Network
  • University of Vermont
  • WAGN Maine
  • Sustainable Food Center

“Thank you so much for your HMI program! I will never be the same. My heart has found “my place”. These tools gained have totally enhanced my life and my small farm to be sustainable. I can hardly wait to see what happens on this adventure.”
-Joanna Lewis Goldman, The Farmer’s Daughter

Participating States

  • Connecticut
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Vermont
  • Massachusetts
  • Maine
  • Texas

Proven Success

Empowering Women in Agriculture

At HMI we don’t just measure the number of people we train, but the impact we’ve had on their lives and their farms. Here are results from our first three-year program.




Knowledge Change by Course*

99% Whole Farm Goal

99% On-Farm Decision Making

96% Time Management

100% Financial Planning

93% Business Planning

90% Soil Fertility

100% Leadership & Communication

98% Planned Grazing

Behavior Change*

93% Holistic Goal/ Whole Farm Plan

82% Financial Plan

78% Business Plan

68% Marketing Plan

57% Biological Monitoring

92% Increased Network

57% Experienced Increased Net Income

35% Experienced Gross Revenue Increase

*These percentages represent the total number of participants survyed that experienced change.

Learn more about the program and the remarkable results we achieve…

2013-2014 Season -Final Report

2013-2014 Maine Beginning Farmer Results

Connecticut Beginning Farmer Results for 2013-2014 Season

2013-2014 Program Results from NY

2013-2014 Season Results from Massachusetts

NH 2013-2014 Season Results are Here

2013-2014 Texas Beginning Women Farmer Program Results

Beginning Women Farmers & Ranchers: Women in the Northeast 2013 Full Report

Beginning Women Farmers in Connecticut

Beginning Women Farmers in New Hampshire Results

Beginning Women Farmers in Maine Results

Beginning Women Farmers in New York Results

Beginning Women Farmers in Massachusetts Results

Beginning Women Farmers in Vermont Results

Texas Class of Beginning Women Farmers Retreat

Case Studies: Beginning Women Farmers in Texas

Acres USA Features women participants of HMI’s Beginning Farmers & Ranchers Program

I want to take the speakers home with me to ask more questions.

Texas Farmers Learn Holistic Biological Monitoring & Land Planning

Holy Holistic Management Batman!

Welcome to HMI’s Newest Certified Educator

A Day in the Life of our Beginning Farmers & Ranchers Program

Case Studies: Creekside Meadows Farm

Case Studies: Green Valley Farm

Holistic Management Certified Educator on the Radio

HMI Training Helps Women Farmers Thrive

HMI Presents Results of Beginning Women Farmers Program

Maple View Farm

Shelter Belt Farm Growing Soil

Our Beginning Women Farmers Continue to Inspire Farmers and the Press

HMI’s Connecticut Beginning Women Farmer 2012 Program Graduation

HMI Beginning Women Farmers Making News

Beginning Women Farmer Conference: Exploring Whole Farm Planning at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. We’ve published the full proceedings from the conference.