UNH Cooperative Extension teamed up with HMI to offer a five session course to farmers; teaching participants how to use Holistic Management techniques and theories to develop a whole farm plan. Additional financial support for the program was provided by a New Hampshire Risk Management Agency grant.
12 participants representing 10 farms attended the training sessions, and a total of 22 people were ultimately reached as participants also engaged farm management team members after training. Session 1 provided participants with the opportunity to develop a values-based goal to guide farm management decisions; showing participants how to move towards their farm goal. Sessions 2 & 3 guided participants through developing a financial plan for their farm, with the Holistic Management financial planning process helping producers to define the profit they need, estimate their income, prioritize expenses, and weave all of the components together into a financial plan. Sessions 4 & 5 guided participants through exercises and the necessary thinking in order to develop an effective marketing and business plan for their farm. Instructors for the sessions were Holistic Management Certified Educator Seth Wilner and Pam Bruss.
The course was very successful, with participants having a diverse level of experience in both whole farm planning and Holistic Management. In the end, all class participants reported that they enjoyed the class, learned a great deal, and were successfully able to develop business and financial plans to advance their farms.
Results of the training are as follows:
|Topic||Number of Participants Experiencing Knowledge Increase||% Participants Experiencing Knowledge Change|
|Defining Effective Management Team||10||83%|
|Inventory Farm Resources||12||100%|
|Develop a Whole Farm Goal||12||100%|
|Identify Needed Farm Systems and Protocols||10||83%|
|Integrate Social, Economic, and Environmental Factors into Decision-Making||12||100%|
|Ability to Make Complex On-Farm Decisions||9||75%|
|Attitude Toward Financial Planning||12||100%|
|Ability to Develop Balance Sheet||9||75%|
|How to Increase Farm Net Worth||12||100%|
|Determining Viable Profitable Enterprises for Your Farm||12||100%|
|Determining Your Farm’s Projected Revenue||10||83%|
|Identifying Logjams and Adverse Factors on Farm||12||100%|
|Skills in Developing Whole Farm Financial Plan||11||92%|
|Getting Profit You Need from Your Farm||12||100%|
|Delineating Farm Expense Categories||12||100%|
|Prioritizing and Cutting Farm Expenses to Guide Reinvestment||12||100%|
|Assessing Farm Cash Flow||7||58%|
|Profitably Price Products and Services||12||100%|
|Effectively Promote Products and Services||10||83%|
|How to Determine Breakeven Sales Volume||10||83%|
|How to Determine Breakeven Price||10||83%|
|Understanding Your Competition||12||100%|
|How to Develop a Marketing Plan||10||83%|
|Knowledge of Resources for Developing Strategic Plan for Farm||12||100%|
|Ability to Use Holistic Goal to Guide Business Strategic Plan||9||75%|
|Ability to Use Financial Plan to Determine Viable Markets for Farm||10||83%|
|Ability to Implement Systems and Projects to Move Towards Whole Farm Goal||12||100%|
|PARTICIPANT BEHAVIOR CHANGE||Implemented Percentage|
|Holistic Goal/Whole Farm Plan||100%|
|Implemented Systems towards Holistic Goal||92%|
|Forge Relationships That Positively Impacted You||100%|
Participants were also asked “what were the greatest learning impacts for your farm as a result of what you learned in this course?”
- The support to delve into issues deeply
- Financial planning, planning for profit, use of spreadsheet tools, setting up record system for tracking expenses and income
- To look at the farm business as part of your whole life
- Form a goal and identify your values to drive your management. Going through this process as a couple.
- Quality of Life statement. Marketing-mission statement.
- Pulling it all together. Focus on direction, goals and then plan around that.
- Helped me set up my personal goals.
- The important connections between your holistic goal and business planning.
- How easy and effective using the testing questions can be.
- Vision statements, quality of life statements.
- Learning about others’ struggles with their farms and how we share similar struggles.
A special thank you to The University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension for making this training possible.
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