A recent online article in the NW News Network about a Holistic Management training for beginning women farmers and ranchers focused on the need for more women in agriculture. Holistic Management practitioners Sandy Matheson and Beth Robinette led the training to help new women agriculturalists gain the skill they need. With over half the farms and ranches in the U.S. preparing to change hands in the next couple of decades, the need for new agrarians have never been greater.
The 2012 U.S. Census showed that there has actually been a slight decrease in women farmers since 2007 (the census in which there had been significant growth in the number of women farmers). Of interest was that the number of women decreasing was 1.6% while for men it was 3.7% (neither is a good trend) and the average age for farmers and ranchers continues to rise for both genders. The good news in these statistics is there is increased diversity within the farming community as more Hispanic, Asian, Black, and American Indian farmers and ranchers are developing agricultural businesses.
From 2009-2015, HMI ran USDA-funded training for beginning women farmers in 7 states, training over 500 women in Whole Farm/Ranch Planning and building their agricultural leadership capacity. Click here to read more about the results from these training programs.
We have continued to encourage more women to consider agriculture as a career through offering Women In Agriculture scholarships for all our training programs. Because all HMI training focuses on integrating value-based decision-making into production, business, and financial planning on the farm or ranch, our training attracts many family farmers and ranchers who are interested in bringing all their management team to the table to learn these practices.
This type of inclusivity means that HMI training programs often have very diverse groups of participants. Likewise, we find that participants feel that their businesses are often more resilient after the training because the management team as a whole better understands the management decisions being made on the farm or ranch and are now more involved in the decision-making.
Click here to learn more about HMI’s Women In Agriculture scholarship.