Final report for ES18-140

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2018: $43,450.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2020
Grant Recipient: Organic Growers School
Region: Southern
State: North Carolina
Principal Investigator:
Cameron Farlow
Organic Growers School
Expand All

Project Information

Abstract:

Organic Growers School is the premier provider of practical, affordable organic growing education in the Southern Appalachians. At OGS, our goal is clear: we want more organic farmers on the land. The Southern Appalachian region needs an influx of successful beginning and expanding farmers in order to sustain and grow regional food production.

With SARE PDP support, our Farmer Training Team will be well equipped to help farmers accomplish their goals. By increasing our Farmer Training Team’s capacity to understand, integrate, and teach sustainable agriculture, whole farm business planning, holistic farm management, agroecology, resiliency and financial literacy, we are raising the bar on the integrity, skill, and professionalism of farmer training in our region.

Project Objectives:

Training in Farm Beginnings® and Sustainable Agriculture Methods

Farm Beginnings is a comprehensive farmer training method which includes sustainable agriculture, whole farm business planning, holistic farm management, agroecology, adult learning styles, resilience implementation and best financial practices.

Educational Leadership and Team Development

Research shows that farmer-to-farmer education results in higher rates of relevancy, retention and applicability for beginning and expanding farmers. Identifying, activating, and encouraging experienced mentor farmers towards leadership and collaboration will give strength to the farmer-led model and expand the use of farmer-to-farmer training models as a proven approach for increasing the number of farmers using sustainable agriculture systems.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Annie Milroy Price (Educator)
  • Cree Bradley (Educator)
  • Dr. Laura Lengnick (Educator and Researcher)

Education

Educational approach:

Training in Farm Beginnings® & Sustainable Agriculture Methods:

The Farmer Training Team (FTT) will receive training, support, and mentoring from the Farm Beginnings® Collaborative (FBC). Sustainable Agriculture and Holistic Management, the ability to see the farm as a whole and all the parts as interrelated, are core components of Farm Beginnings®. The FTT will be trained to dive deeply into sustainable agriculture principles and whole-farm planning so they can communicate these ideas to beginning farmers. Activities & methods include:

    • The FTT members attend the FBC Annual meeting & Facilitators meeting to become familiar with the model, practical applications, and training tools.
    • Provides 4 orientations for the FTT.
      • 2 to understand Farm Beginnings® curriculum, tools, effective ways of teaching, and help adapt examples relevant to farming in our region.
      • 2 for the FTT Mentor Farmers that will be matched as mentors with Farm Beginnings® participants for one-on-one support during the growing season.
      • One-on-one coaching to prepare FTT to teach classes and troubleshoot.
    • The FTT trained by Dr. Laura Lengnick on sustainable agriculture and Holistic Management principles.
      • Topics include: resource conservation; ecosystem processes and cycles; biodiversity; soil, water, & energy conservation; diversifying enterprises; managing whole systems; resiliency; decision-making tools, monitoring, and goal setting.
      • Lengnick conducts training at the FBC Annual Meeting on how sustainable agriculture techniques can help farmers respond more effectively to a changing climate.
    • Holistic Financial Planning Training, a 2-day workshop taught by Cree Bradley.
      • The FTT learns this process for meeting farming goals through proper planning and management of farm and family financial resources, and can then teach beginning farmers in our region.

Educational Leadership Development & Team Training:

It is crucial that we not only build capacity and skills to better educate farmers but also build resiliency and mutual support between agricultural support agencies in our region. The focus on strengthening our leaders, building trust and creativity, and enhancing community-based actions is the very nature of resilience. When we work together effectively our collective impact is far greater than that as individuals. Our future farmers need this from us. Additionally, we will build the capacity of mentor farmers to assess, value, and articulate the business practices and critical experiences of their own farm and connect their experiences to universal entrepreneurial concepts so that they can serve a critical role in supporting beginning farmers. Activities & methods include:

    • Bird’s Eye consultation and trainings developed and conducted.
      • Learn effective facilitation techniques to work with different adult-learning styles; manage groups and address common issues in a classroom environment.
      • Effective ways to use the farm as a classroom, manage large group dynamics, promote learning, and design field days for maximum impact.
      • Using live, on-farm examples and demonstrations for teaching moments.
      • Creative, hands-on ways to teach sustainable farm production practices.
      • Effective ways to share sustainable farming practices/systems in an understandable, simple way.
    • Coach the FTT to prepare them to support beginning farmers in the following ways:
      • Conduct assessments of farm operations, financials, marketing, research and development.
      • One-on-one mentoring and technical assistance that can include determining enterprise development, analysis of pricing structure and associated variable costs, cash flow projections, crop production trouble-shooting, record-keeping, etc.
    • Training with Bird’s Eye to develop and strengthen professional collaborations, build capacity for the FTT.
      • Training on entrepreneurial planning to provide focused technical assistance to farming entrepreneurs.
      • Training in effective facilitation, communication, and partnership techniques through supplemental trainings like diversity, program evaluation, nonviolent communication, etc.  

This two-year project will result in a better trained and prepared Farmer Training Team and create training modules that can be used to build skills and develop leaders in our farming community for years to come. Mentor farmers and agricultural professionals themselves need ongoing support and training to effectively transfer valuable sustainable agriculture farming knowledge to the next generation.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Planning Meeting with Farmer Mentors
Objective:

To get input on the professional development needs and interests of our farmer mentors & farmer training team. Co-create with the farmer mentors the workshop training topics we want to focus on as a part of this SARE-PDP project.

Description:
OGS received funding from SARE to provide professional development training Annie Price from Bird’s Eye Business Planning & Consulting. We are working with Annie to design trainings for our farmer teachers, mentors, and other agricultural support people to increase their knowledge, skill, leadership, and capacity to train the next generation of farmers. Some of the training will include holistic farm planning, sustainable agriculture practices, learning styles, group facilitation, leadership, and team development. It’s a two-year project and we’re in the beginning stages!
Outcomes and impacts:

Participants gained a comprehensive understanding of Organic Growers School programs, what the core successes and challenges are, and the intention of the SARE PDP project.

Participants articulated where trainers would like support to make the project feel more successful, rewarding, and relevant to the needs of the farmer mentors being served. 

Consultants & project director gained a clear understanding & direction for what farmer mentors need for professional development training, and how to make the training opportunities that will be offered relevant & useful for their professional development.

Farm Beginnings Farmer Presenter Training October 2018
Objective:

To orient and prepare Farmers as presenters/teachers in the upcoming Farm Beginnings Course
To identify and dig into areas that Organic Growers School can support our farmer teachers in developing their presentations, and their ability to be effective farmer trainers.

Description:

Agenda:

Farm Beginnings Farmer Training Overview

  • State of the Fields: snapshot of impact of the program to date, graduates stories & incoming class cohort
  • Overall Structure of the program and changes this year
  • What is your role as a farmer presenter?
  • Preparing your presentation: Classroom norms, inclusivity protocol, how your session fits into the full course program

Intro SARE PDP grant:

  • Key Goals: we will build your capacity as mentor farmers to articulate your business practices and critical experiences on your own farm and connect/articulate your experiences to other farmers as teachers & mentors
  • Including effective facilitation techniques, addressing adult-learning styles, managing group dynamics, classroom vs in the field teaching, communication, etc.

Modeling facilitation techniques for group discussion

Outcomes and impacts:

Participants understood how the Farm Beginnings program works, the different components, and their role in the course as a whole.

Participants learned about the SARE PDP project and give guidance and input to influence future workshop creation

Participants experienced & learned effective group facilitation techniques that they can use as a presenter in future workshops.

This workshop enables the Farmer Presenters/Mentors to gain valuable context about the Farm Beginnings farmer training program and how important they & the experiences they share are important as co-instructors in the course. They left feeling prepared and ready for teaching their sessions. 

Distilling Your Content 2019: How to create compelling, relevant, and retainable presentations
Objective:

Cover adult learning styles, communication tools, and building your presentations. Give farmer trainers the opportunity to develop a short presentation, and get feedback from the group.

Description:

Through our survey and one-on-one conversations, we learned one area you’d like more support as Farmer Trainers is to build your confidence as strong facilitators and presenters. So, for our first train-the-trainer workshop, we’ll focus on how to distill your own body of knowledge and expertise as a farmer or agricultural support person to define your key points. We’ll also cover the effective use of communication tools & methods, and how to address different learning styles in your audience.

Outcomes and impacts:

At the end of this session, participants were able to:
Describe the process for determining key presentation points
Create a simple visual presentation, like a powerpoint.
Explore techniques for reaching aural, visual, verbal, and physical learners. 
Grounding techniques to help you be comfortable and present while facilitating.

The participants were able to practice and get feedback on presentations they are actively working on and will present later this year. They left feeling more confident in their abilities to create a visual presentation, and deliver content to other farmers. 

Mentor and Mentee Orientation February 2019
Objective:

To gather all the Farmer Mentors, and mentees prior to being matched so both groups can learn about how the Mentorship process works. Mentors will learn valuable skills for being an effective mentor and how to transfer knowledge clearly to a mentee. Mentees will learn how they can take full advantage of their time with their Farmer Mentor.

Description:

Agenda:
Welcome
Overview of Organic Growers School Mentorship program
Quick introductions of Farmer Mentors & Farmer Mentees
History and Benefits of Mentorship
Reflections and sharing on past mentor-like relationships
Mentoring Techniques
Types of Mentoring relationships
Roles of a Mentor
Personal Reflection and Question Generating
Speed Mentoring Activity
Regroup and consider informal and formal mentoring possibilities

Outcomes and impacts:

Mentors learned about the expectations & logistics for the mentorship.

Mentors learned effective mentoring strategies.

Participants experienced “speed mentoring” where mentors were able to practice mentoring techniques with potential mentees. Mentors learned what mentees are seeking in a mentorship and explored how they can meet those needs with one-on-one support. 

Participants are able to describe differences in communication styles and can explain their own. 

We anticipate that gathering the mentors and mentees together prior to matching the mentor pairs will help the mentor pairs be more successful in the long run. After this workshop together both partners are more realistic expectations of what the mentorship will require and provide. And, the mentors have increased their skill base to be more effective mentors for the beginning farmers, and better able to communicate their knowledge.

Holistic Financial Planning
Objective:

Help farmers navigate the delicate balancing act that all farmers must succeed in balancing healthy profits with healthy land and a healthy farm family and personal life.
Learn how to make financial decisions toward farm & family values and goals, and how to build profit into your plans up front, rather than hoping there is something left once expenses are subtracted from income.
Help farmers connect financial systems for home and farm management into a clear program to focus in and get clear on their numbers.
Learn ways to assess financial, personal and farm weak links.

Description:

Holistic Financial Planning comes out of the theories and methods behind Holistic Management, a whole farm planning and decision-making framework that helps farmers take into account their triple bottom line – their economic, environmental, and social viability. Learn to make financial decisions that support farm and family goals while building profit on your farm. It is a fantastic workshop that has not been offered in our region before and could be a game-changer for how you think about your farm finances.

Outcomes and impacts:

Participants:

  • Clarified values and commitments towards values in the development or review of a Holistic Goal.
  • Understood how a Holistic Goal should drive personal, farm and family financial decisions and aid in balancing healthy profits with healthy land and a healthy farm, family and personal life.
  • Learned what Holistic Financial Planning is and created a combined “whole farm and family” 2019 financial plan utilizing the Holistic Financial Planning process.  
  • Classified expenses into categories that help prioritize their importance relative to their goals.
  • Assessed Weak Links, Logjams, and Adverse Conditions and the power of investing in them.
  • Prioritized wealth generation and planning for profit, building your profit into the financial plan upfront, through holistic financial decision-making.
  • Gained a financial planning and budgeting tool that aids in the management of cash flow.
  • Created financial plan for 2019.

  

Farm Beginnings Resilient Agriculture Workshop
Objective:

1. Why we need resilience thinking in sustainable agriculture
2. What we know about agricultural resilience - farmer case studies
3. Share examples of how current Farm Beginnings curriculum could be revised to add resilience content.

Description:
In this workshop, Farm Beginnings Educators will learn how resilience thinking can be applied to agricultural and food system design, assessment and management. Then, as farmer educators, together we will explore how resilience thinking can be taught to beginning farmers and ranchers. We will also cover how resilience and sustainability are connected, and how holistic management can be an adaptive management strategy for farm businesses. Lastly, we will cover what resilience teaching tools are available for each step of the adaptive management process from goal setting to monitoring and how you can integrate these ideas into your Farm Beginnings curriculum & classroom. 
Outcomes and impacts:

Farmer Trainers gained knowledge, skills, and awareness to effectively educate beginning farmers in soil building sustainable agriculture practices, whole farm business planning, Holistic farm management, resilience implementation, and best financial practices effectively implementing the Farm Beginnings® training model.

Farmer Trainers are poised to create, apply, integrate, and modify educational tools and curricula to our region and our farmers. For all aspects of regional beginning farmer training, mentorship, and support.

Farm Beginnings Farmer Presenter Training October 2019
Objective:

To orient and prepare Farmers as presenters/teachers in the upcoming Farm Beginnings Course
To identify and dig into areas that Organic Growers School can support our farmer teachers in developing their presentations, and their ability to be effective farmer trainers.

Description:

Agenda:

Farm Beginnings Farmer Training Overview

  • State of the Fields: snapshot of impact of the program to date, graduates stories & incoming class cohort
  • Overall Structure of the program and changes this year
  • What is your role as a farmer presenter?
  • Preparing your presentation: Classroom norms, inclusivity protocol, how your session fits into the full course program

Intro SARE PDP grant:

  • Key Goals: we will build your capacity as mentor farmers to articulate your business practices and critical experiences on your own farm and connect/articulate your experiences to other farmers as teachers & mentors
  • Including effective facilitation techniques, addressing adult-learning styles, managing group dynamics, classroom vs in the field teaching, communication, etc.

Modeling facilitation techniques for group discussion

Outcomes and impacts:

This was the second iteration of this training as we launched the second year of Farm Beginnings Farmer Training course. We like to start out the year with a Farmer Speaker Orientation to help the farmer mentors, especially new ones, understand the course, the importance of the particular section they teach to the overall class and the experience of the students, provide training on best practices for teaching beginning farmers, and offer support. This second training was largely unchanged from the previous year’s training.

Participants understood how the Farm Beginnings program works, the different components, and their role in the course as a whole.

Participants learned about the SARE PDP project and give guidance and input to influence future workshop creation

Participants experienced & learned effective group facilitation techniques that they can use as a presenter in future workshops.

This workshop enables the Farmer Presenters/Mentors to gain valuable context about the Farm Beginnings farmer training program and how important they & the experiences they share are important as co-instructors in the course. They left feeling prepared and ready for teaching their sessions. 

Mentor and Mentee Orientation February 2020
Objective:

To gather all the Farmer Mentors, and mentees prior to being matched so both groups can learn about how the Mentorship process works. Mentors will learn valuable skills for being an effective mentor and how to transfer knowledge clearly to a mentee. Mentees will learn how they can take full advantage of their time with their Farmer Mentor.

Description:

Agenda:

6:00-6:15: Introductions and hello from OGS. Introduce group norms and pronouns.

6:15-7:00: Mentor-Mentee dyads THEN introduce to group ( 10 minutes for interviews) 

  • For Mentors to Answer:
    • Name, where you farm?
    • What brought you to farming? 
    • Who was an influential mentor to you and why?
    • What are you hoping to gain/give to a mentoring relationship?
  • For Mentees to answer:
    • Name, where you farm?
    • What brought you to farming?
    • What are your three main areas of interest in farming which you hope to cover during the mentorship?
    • What are you hoping to gain/give to a mentoring relationship?
  • Introduce your partner to the group (35 minutes)

7:00-7:25: Technical Questions Box: During the introductions mentees were given 2-3 index cards to write down Technical Questions they would like to ask the mentors. The facilitator collects the cards then randomly selects one and reads it to the group. Multiple farmer mentors can respond. At the beginning each mentee was provided with a reference sheet that lists basic details for each farmer mentor including their farm name, location, what they grow, and lines for notes. Mentors are able to practice providing mentorship to mentees and hear the kind of questions they have, and mentees can get a better feel for the type of mentor they would prefer. 

7:25-7:40: Group Agreements/Best Practices: 

  • Establish/Build group agreements/best practices for how mentorship can work best.
  • Have them think about the most effective relationships you’ve had in the past, what concerns/opportunities come up for you when you think about that. Impediments or keys to success for those relationships.
  • Leave in space for feeling safe to ask someone for mentorship

7:40-8:00: Evaluation, wrap up, and time for informal mingling

Outcomes and impacts:

We felt like the 2019 Mentor-Mentee Orientation was overall a success and achieved our primary goals to gather the mentors and mentees together prior to matching the mentor pairs in order to help the mentor pairs be more successful in the long run. After this workshop, both partners had more realistic expectations of what the mentorship will require and provide. And, the mentors had increased their skill base to be more effective mentors for the beginning farmers, and better able to communicate their knowledge.

We did adapt and improve the format of the training based on feedback from participants and our own observations. The following outcomes were still achieved. 

Mentors learned about the expectations & logistics for the mentorship.

Mentors learned effective mentoring strategies.

Participants experienced “speed mentoring” where mentors were able to practice mentoring techniques with potential mentees. Mentors learned what mentees are seeking in a mentorship and explored how they can meet those needs with one-on-one support. 

Participants are able to describe differences in communication styles and can explain their own. 

 

Improving Farm Communications
Objective:

Provide Training in communication and partnership techniques that can be utilized between farm partners, employees/apprentices/trainees, as well as for managing a classroom/speaking engagement.

Effective communication skills are essential for the transfer valuable sustainable agriculture farming knowledge to the next generation.

Description:

Effective communication is essential and can be transformative for your farm operation. In this day-long interactive workshop, Improving Farm Communication, participants will address real-life situations to learn about communication styles, ways to have better conversations, and have a chance to practice new skills. In this workshop we will cover the basics of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), aka, Compassionate Communication, and how it can be applied to your personal as well as your farm life and business. On-farm communication is critical for farm viability and is one of the most common sources of conflict and frustration for farmers, family members, business partners, employees, and customers.

NVC has been used around the world for decades in all areas of people’s lives and has one of the most proven track records for reducing conflict and creating teamwork, increasing efficiency, and boosting morale.

By using examples from participants’ lives we will create a highly interactive learning environment and learn skills that can be immediately applied to your home and work life.

Come if you:

  1. Are part of a farm family or farm team
  2. See the benefit of improved communication skills
  3. Would like to have conversations that aren’t so awkward
  4. Are ready to tackle difficult conversations
  5. Find the stress of farm life difficult to express to others
Outcomes and impacts:

While this training was open to the public we provided compensation for their time and free registration to members of the Farmer Training Team to encourage them to participate along with their farming partners. 

Participants learned to

  • Use the four steps of the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) process
  • Ask for what you want with clarity and confidence
  • Navigate conflict with ease and confidence even with those who have different world views.
  • Translate judgment and blame into understanding and connection.
  • Transform painful self-judgment and create emotional resilience and inner peace.
  • Remain calm and centered even when others are expressing strong emotions.

We know that several of the farms started implementing what they learned immediately following the workshop from follow-up discussions. We hope to provide this training in our on-going repertoire of farmer training opportunities because it fills a human risk need that isn’t being provided by other agricultural services providers in our region. 

Moving Beyond Diversity Introductory Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Workshop
Objective:

Train the Farmer Training Team on frameworks and tools to deepen their understanding of structural oppression and how it shows up in the US agricultural system. Trainers can start to examine how these structural oppressions may show up in their role as educators working with new and beginning farmers, and be better prepared to address those issues in the classroom.

Description:

This is a full-day workshop that offers participants an introduction to frameworks and tools that will deepen their understanding of structural oppression in the US agricultural system. Participants share their stories, connect those to a collective history, identify power dynamics and how they get established, learn language and a framework for understanding structural oppression, and consider critical questions that can then guide their equity efforts.

This is an interactive, engaging workshop that combines popular education, engaging dialogue, and generative small group work to get people not only building their equity capacity, but also building relationships with an equity cohort that can then offer support and encouragement to each other. 

Outcomes and impacts:

Participants learned to:

  • Connect their stories to a collective history of structural oppression in US agriculture.
  • Identify power dynamics and how they get established.
  • Use a framework for understanding structural oppression.
  • Consider critical questions that can then guide their equity efforts.

Participants also identified the next steps to continue their learning and start to integrate it into their current role as a farmer educator/trainer.

Farm Beginnings Collaborative (FBC) Meeting
Objective:

Continue work as a Collaborative of farmer trainers after experiencing racial equity training.
Share resources and strengthen relationships with Farm Beginnings Collaborative members.

Description:

During this annual meeting of the Farm Beginnings Collaborative (FBC) members, we spend time debriefing from the racial equity training to discuss the experience and consider our next steps. How are people integrating racial equity work? How can we adapt the Farm Beginnings curriculum to incorporate equity on every level? 

Outcomes and impacts:

FBC members walked away with tools, such as Power Pictionary and the agricultural history timeline – that can be used in facilitating Farm Beginnings courses. 

FBC members felt supported carry on equity work within their individual organizations, and Farm Beginnings courses.

FBC members are considering adding a session to the curriculum food system inequity, the history of agriculture, and environmental/racial justice. Some organizations have already incorporated this type of session. Others began using Black and People of Color authors as the main reading texts in their course.

How to incorporate racial equity into our work internally as a Collaborative as well as externally through the Farm Beginnings curriculum that we use to teach beginning farmers continues to be an on-going and evolving discussion. 

Educational & Outreach Activities

5 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
11 Workshop field days

Participation Summary

3 Extension
24 Nonprofit
2 Ag service providers (other or unspecified)
55 Farmers/ranchers
10 Others

Learning Outcomes

71 Participants gained or increased knowledge, skills and/or attitudes about sustainable agriculture topics, practices, strategies, approaches
52 Ag professionals intend to use knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness learned

Project Outcomes

3 Grants received that built upon this project
5 New working collaborations
Project outcomes:

In this first year of the project, we have successfully trained 45 farmer mentors & agricultural support professionals as part of our Farmer Training Team, through 5 workshops that have focused on Farm Beginnings®, Sustainable Agriculture Methods, leadership development, & facilitation. 

Short term outcomes of participants include:

  • Experiencing & learning effective group facilitation techniques that they can use as a presenter in future workshops.
  • Describing the process for determining key presentation points, creating a simple visual presentation, exploring techniques for reaching aural, visual, verbal, and physical learners, grounding techniques to build confidence, and practicing and getting feedback on presentations.
  • Gaining knowledge on expectations and logistics for mentorship, and effective mentoring strategies. 
  • Practicing mentoring strategies, and communication styles.
  • Clarifying values, writing a Holistic Goal and how to connect it to farm financial decisions.
  • Creating a 2019 “whole farm & family” financial plan, and planning for profit. 
  • Gaining knowledge, skills, and awareness to effectively educate beginning farmers in soil building sustainable agriculture practices, whole farm business planning, Holistic farm management, resilience implementation, and best financial practices effectively implementing the Farm Beginnings® training model.

In the second year of the project, we have successfully trained an additional 37 farmer mentors & agricultural support professionals as part of our Farmer Training Team bringing the grand total to 82 individual participants. We held 6 workshops and trainings that have focused on Farm Beginnings®, leadership development, & facilitation. 

Short term outcomes of participants include:

  • Experiencing & learning effective group facilitation techniques that they can use as a presenter in future workshops.
  • Describing the process for determining key presentation points, creating a simple visual presentation, exploring techniques for reaching aural, visual, verbal, and physical learners, grounding techniques to build confidence, and practicing and getting feedback on presentations.
  • Gaining knowledge on expectations and logistics for mentorship, and effective mentoring strategies. 
  • Practicing mentoring strategies, and communication styles.
  • Using the four steps of the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) process
  • Navigating conflict with ease and confidence even with those who have different world views.
  • Connect their stories to a collective history of structural oppression in US agriculture.
  • Identify power dynamics and how they get established and use a framework for understanding structural oppression.

We tried to assess the medium-term outcomes for year 1 workshops by sending a digital evaluation 6 months after each training was completed. However, the response rate was regrettably very low and only 4 participants responded. But, we do want to share those responses to provide a snapshot of the medium-term impact of the trainings. When the respondents were asked to name something they implement from the workshop that they are most proud and/or excited about, they responded: 

  1. “More effective presentation organization and delivery”
  2. “We’re most proud of keeping our core values at the center. We’ve been making realistic financial decisions that sustains are cash flow while slowly gradually working on the agriculture business. The training gave us more of a realistic perspective the has impacted our decision making around investment and loans.”
  3. “Weak links analysis of the elements of the farm’s business life cycle — production, product conversion, sales”

Furthermore, this grant gave us a wonderful opportunity to work with excellent trainers and provide numerous opportunities for farmer mentors, extension agents, agricultural non-profit service providers, and others to build their skills as trainers in a variety of areas. We believe our Farmer Trainer Team is well equipped and better resourced to transfer knowledge to and train the next generation of sustainable agriculture farmers. We have also created training modules that we can continue to adapt and improve such as Distilling Your Content, the Farm Beginnings Mentor-Mentee Orientation, and Holistic Financial Planning, Improving Farm Communications, Moving Beyond Diversity and Inclusion that we can continue to provide across our region. Thereby, continually increasing the capacity and ability of farmer mentors, in particular, to feel confident and capable of sharing what they know in a classroom and one-on-one training setting. The ripple effects of this 2-year train the trainer project will be ongoing!

52 Agricultural service provider participants who used knowledge and skills learned through this project (or incorporated project materials) in their educational activities, services, information products and/or tools for farmers
73 Farmers reached through participant's programs
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.