Increase Farmer Quality of Life and Income Through Mindset Coaching

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2024: $15,000.00
Projected End Date: 02/15/2026
Grant Recipient: Grass Powered Poultry LLC
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Project Coordinator:
Dana Workman
Grass Powered Poultry LLC


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal summary:

The problem this project will address is the mental health and
quality of life crisis happening in the agriculture industry,
especially among small, beginning and limited resource farmers.
While there are plenty of programs teaching farmers how to farm
and run a business, very few exist to support farmers through the
mental pressures of operating a successful farm long term. To
operate a truly sustainable farm, the operation needs to be
financially sustainable and producing a living wage for the
family, which then allows the farmer to care of the land and
resources on the farm and provides an adequate quality of life
for the farmer and the farm family. Overall, this is rarely
happening in the small farm world. Farmers are overworked,
underpaid, families relationships are strained, and the end
result is food insecurity when we can't keep farmers on the land
long term. The solution to this problem is teaching farmers to
rewire their mindset in order to calm down their lives, stop over
working, charge a fair and profitable price for their products,
set boundaries, create meaningful relationships, and build a
truly sustainable farm that is able to serve our communities long

Project objectives from proposal:

The project will be a pilot program for a mindset coaching
program specific for farmers to demonstrate the effectiveness of
coaching. Science has proven that our thoughts create our
emotions and our emotions drive all action, or inaction, which
then creates the results we have in our lives. Circumstances are
neutral and it's only how we react to situations that create
everything we have in our lives. Mindset coaching allows
participants to become aware of their own thought patterns and
begin to actively choose thoughts that create the results they
want in life and business. This project will offer mindset
coaching to a small pilot program of farmers. The coaching will
support them throughout most of a growing season from around
April to the end of November. Farmers will meet with a coach
monthly for a 45 minute session over Zoom (or similar video
conferencing system). In that conversation, farmers will be
prompted to bring one struggle to address in the coaching
session. Farmers will be led through a series of questions to
help them uncover the underlying thoughts and beliefs that are
holding them back, and helped to create a new thought that will
better serve them moving forward. Participants will also be
supported between coaching sessions with workbooks/journal
prompts reinforcing growth mindset concepts. Working through this
process with a coach and group of supportive peers allows
participants to become more aware of their thoughts and the
results they are creating even outside of coaching sessions.
Throughout the season, farmers will fill out feedback and survey
forms to track progress in their finances, quality of life,
overall satisfaction with farming, and share any other "wins"
they're experiencing as a result of mindset coaching. Farmers
will also be surveyed at the end of the season on if and how
mindset coaching contributed to their ability to care for their
land and resources in a more sustainable way. The results will be
compiled and shared via social media, podcast appearance, blog
posts, in person meetings with small groups of local farmers, and
at a regional farm conference in order to spread awareness of the
benefits of mindset coaching for farmers. The results of this
project will be used to customize future programming with the
goal of incorporating mindset coaching techniques into existing
beginning farmer programs and expanding to offer coaching to more
farm families. 

The objectives of this project are:

  1. Create awareness about mindset coaching and it's benefits for
    farmers and farm families.
  2. Increase quality of life for farmers and their families by
    allowing them to increase their income and work more sustainable
  3. Increase the long term success rate of small farms by
    providing the support needed to build a truly sustainable farm
    that provides the farm family a living wage, allows them to
    sustainably care for their land and resources, and to maintain
    quality family relationships
  4. Provide a safe space for farmers to talk about stress and
    struggles as a way to address some of the mental health issues in
    the agriculture industry
  5. Begin changing the culture of the agriculture industry so
    farmers can see they are worthy of making a fair living wage
    without working unsustainable hours 
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.