Training agriculture professionals and educators to support beginning farmer veterans’ mental health.

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2023: $119,032.00
Projected End Date: 10/02/2026
Grant Recipient: Michigan Integrated Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS)
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Adam Ingrao
Michigan Food and Farming Systems


Not commodity specific


  • Crop Production: beekeeping
  • Education and Training: networking, workshop
  • Sustainable Communities: quality of life

    Proposal abstract:

    A result of our aging farmer and rancher population is that interest in new farmer and rancher training has grown and hundreds of projects have emerged to prepare the next generation of successful farmers and ranchers. Recent systematic reviews of beginner farmer and rancher training programs show that beginning farmer trainers are well-trained to help new farmers gain a good foundation in production, marketing, business planning, and other vital subjects that help them build and manage sustainable and successful farm and ranch businesses but don’t connect those activities to a farmer’s mental health. The goal of this project is to deliver capacity building trainings and workshops for USDA staff, technical assistance providers, and farmer-serving organizations, as well as clinicians and behavioral health providers to diversify their professional skills to support the sustainability of beginning farmers, using beekeeping as the model. Knowledge outcomes include increased knowledge of veteran and farmer beekeeper perspectives and adaptive beekeeping knowledge. Action outcomes include educators disseminate informed knowledge to veterans and farmers; trainers will be more effective teachers; engage more diverse expertise in local farmer training programs; and guide behavior change. Condition outcomes include higher sustainability amongst farmers and veterans through improved mental health; confident educators with a better holistic understanding of training farmers; and increased health and quality of life. These outcomes will be met through delivery of the Beekeeping for Therapy professional development curriculum followed by facilitating delivery of the program to veterans and farmers by newly trained educators.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Educational Materials

    • Eight trainings will be conducted for Ag educators. We expect 12-15 participants per training.
    • Train the trainer program materials, support materials, and implementation guidelines for curriculum delivery will be provided to at least 96 Ag educators.
    • Standardized forms and surveys to measure program outcomes will be provided to at least 96 Ag educators.
    • PowerPoints, videos, publications, audio recordings pictures, and other teaching tools delivered to at least 96 Ag educators.
    • Instructional videos on therapeutic practices will be added to the H2H YouTube channel with over 1,600 subscribers.
    • At least one scientific journal publication and one professional journal publication.


    • Beekeeping for Therapy curriculum.
    • At least 96 Ag educators will understand how to train other Ag educators on the Beekeeping for Therapy curriculum.
    • At least 650 Veterans and farmers will have experienced the Beekeeping for Therapy curriculum.


    • Presentations on therapeutic practices and our findings will be given at beekeeping conferences throughout Michigan and Kansas in year 3 of the proposal.
    • Presentations on therapeutic beekeeping practices will be given at the AgrAbility National Training Workshop in year 3 of the proposal.
    • Presentations on the therapeutic beekeeping practices will be given at the American Beekeeping Federation annual conference in year 3 of the proposal.


    • H2H has a close partnership with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Great Plains Master Beekeeping (GPMB) course and Valor Honey has a close partnership with the University of Montana’s online Beekeeping Certificate program.
      • In recent years H2H has aligned its curriculum with GPMB to ensure H2H students have an educational pathway to continue learning about beekeeping past the H2H program. As a result, thousands of H2H alumni are currently enrolled in GPMB. Our team has already been in discussions with GPMB to incorporate our proposed activities into the GPMB course as an advanced skills certificate for Master beekeepers who have completed the GPMB program.
      • In recent years Valor Honey has worked with the University of Montana on adding commercial beekeeping and honey production training. Through this project, H2H and Valor Honey will define an educational pathway to commercial beekeeping for H2H students.
      • These partnerships will allow individuals completing their Master Beekeeping Certificate to become trainers of the Beekeeping for Therapy curriculum and will provide a place to house all materials perpetually.
    • AgrAbility is a major partner of H2H by providing workshops and lectures on accessible beekeeping and have been working with Co-PI A. Ingrao over the last decade to develop accessible recommendations and tools for veterans with disabilities. We will work closely with AgrAbility's National Veteran Outreach Coordinator, Joe Ricker, to promote our therapeutic beekeeping practices to a wide veteran audience.
    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.