If you’ve followed HMI for very long, you’ve probably heard about our Beginning Farmers & Ranchers program. The program started in 2009 when the USDA National Institute for Food & Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program provided 3 years of funding to HMI to teach beginning women farmers in the Northeast about Holistic Management whole farm/ranch planning. We wanted the women to improve their ability to manage their farms successfully for the triple bottom line of profit, land health, and quality of life and build support networks to sustain that success. The primary goals of this 3-year project was to train 270 women in whole farm planning and help them develop whole farm plans as well as build capacity for an ongoing Beginning Women Farmer program in the Northeast.
A key component of the program was to gather and analyze data so we could understand the degree to which the women achieved triple bottom line results, as well as the effectiveness of our training efforts. Now that the program has come to an end, we are pleased to share these results with the HMI Community.
As you’ll see the results demonstrate the success of this program at every level due to strong collaborative arrangements and adaptive project management in response to the feedback from participants, instructors, mentors, state coordinators, and project director.
As a matter of fact, the program and the results were so successful the USDA/NIFA/BFRD group recently awarded HMI another grant to continue training women in the Northeast and Texas.
Dr. Ann Adams, HMI’s Director of Education and project manager for the program will be presenting these results at the 6th Small Farms Conference in Memphis, TN on September 18-20, 2012. If you’re attending the conference, please be sure to stop by and say hello to Ann.