Building capacity in whole-farm systems and planning using the holistic management framework

2007 Annual Report for ENE07-105

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2007: $171,923.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: Northeast
State: New Hampshire
Project Leader:
Seth Wilner
UNH Cooperative Extension

Building capacity in whole-farm systems and planning using the holistic management framework


This two-year project will train 24 participants to use a systems approach for whole farm planning utilizing the Holistic Management ® Framework. Participants will learn: (a) whole farm planning procedures; (b) financial planning; (c) how to observe the land and evaluate ecosystem health, (d) how to implement monitoring methods to assess the impact of management practices on the ecosystem; (e) grazing planning; and (f) a systems approach to management.

The program consists of four 4-day residential sessions. The training will use a combination of education methods including pre-session assignments, a self-directed learning plan lectures, decision cases, on-farm activities, a learning community, and a program mentor.
Each participant will work with two farms to apply and teach the procedures and methods they learn in the residential sessions. Upon completion of the project, the participants and learning community will be implementing whole farm plans and sustainable management practices. The project will collate the farm plans and experiences of the participants for presentation using an online format.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Eighteen project participants use a systems approach, driven by an integrated understanding of economic, environmental and social factors, in their work with farmers. These participants utilize specific methods in their work with farmers to develop whole farm plans, grazing plans, and financial plans using the Holistic Management® Framework. (January 2010)


Narrative: Below are the milestones set forth in our project description. We have spent the past several months arranging training site locations, developing marketing materials, and identifying and hiring instructors and mentors. We feel we will be able to meet the first milestone and its associated completion date on time.

Our first session is due to begin in April of 2008, after which participants will work with at least two farms throughout the summer and fall of 2008.

Our second milestone will be achieved later than planned as we aim to hold our second session in late fall of 2008 to accommodate participants’ schedules.

Our third milestone will also be later than planned with the third intensive session likely occurring in late spring of 2009.

Our final milestones are due to be accomplished by late fall of 2009.

Milestones as listed in the grant:

Twenty four project participants work with two farms to begin developing a whole farm using the Holistic Management framework. (December 2007 through January 2008)

Twenty four project participants work with two farms each to teach the Holistic Financial Planning process (which includes enterprise analysis, cash flow budgeting and record keeping) to develop a financial plan for their farm. (February to October of 2008)

Eighteen project participants work with two farms each to teach them how to read their farmland and monitor and assess the impacts of their management on the ecosystem. (November 2008 through January 2009)

Fourteen project participants work with one farm each to teach them how to develop a grazing plan using the Holistic Planned Grazing process. (November 2008 to January 2009)

Eighteen Whole Farm Plans are made available online. (April 2009)

Eighteen participants work with their program mentor the year following the last residential session to increase their understanding of the Holistic Management framework and incorporate their knowledge and skills into their work with farmers. (February 2009 through January 2010).

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Our project outcomes to date center around organization, administration, and marketing efforts. We have identified venue locations, instructors, mentors, and have developed marketing materials. These will be distributed and the first training sessions will be in April of 2008.

We have also developed our curriculum and selected educational materials to achieve our project outcomes.


Phil Metzger
RC&D Coordinator
99 North Broad St
Norwich, NY 13815
Office Phone: 6073343231