Wisdom in the Land

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2005: $92,560.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Project Coordinator:
Sharon Sachs
Innovative Farmers of Ohio

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Animal Production: grazing - rotational
  • Education and Training: mentoring, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, budgets/cost and returns, marketing management, agricultural finance, market study
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Sustainable Communities: ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change

    Proposal abstract:

    Wisdom in the Land - Cultivating Regenerative Farms through Farmer-to-Farmer Mentoring

    Wisdom in the Land will prepare beginning and transitioning farmers to engage in successful regenerative agricultural enterprises through an integrated experiential education program that develops practical skills paralleled with an appropriate conceptual framework in economic, social, and ecological stewardship. The mentoring program, adaptable to the learning styles and lifestyles of beginning (up to 5 yrs exp) and transitioning (more than 5 yrs exp) farmers will engage 40 mentor and mentee pairs with an additional 100 farmers who attend experiential workshops. Ohio is currently devoid of focused programs that systematically provide holistic assistance to access and utilize capital and credit, land, training, and markets for the farmers targeted by this program. The Project Coordinator will facilitate collaboration through an Advisory Council whose members will insure program design efficacy, guide outreach, and assure accountability. A publication with profiles of mentor and mentee farms will be produced and distributed as part of a more comprehensive evaluation process.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Wisdom in the Land

    Objectives/Performance Targets

    Establish a Leadership Council to assist with design, outreach, and accountability, whose members especially assist with mentor recruitment Jun06

    Design a comprehensive evaluation plan that incorporates methods applied in mentoring programs of other States.

    Recruit, select, and train 25-40 mentors, representative of different ethnic groups (begin Jul06 - at least 20 by Sep06)

    Recruit and select 40 mentees (20 to start Nov06 and 20 to start Feb07)

    Deliver two 15-month programs, including Orientation, 6 group sessions, individual mentoring sessions, and other individual professional development opportunities.

    Collaboratively deliver six one-day experiential workshops within the growing seasons (July – October 07)

    Write, publish, and distribute profiles of mentor/mentee relationships (by SEP08)

    Define a program model worthy of replication in other Ohio regions.

    Success Criteria

    Program participants expand their knowledge of and skill to perform sustainable and regenerative farming practices, and to use appropriate technical and business tools.

    Program participants have a renewed and realistic commitment to farming as a profession.

    Program participants gain information and knowledge about resources available to support their continued development.

    Farmers and education service providers increase their capacity to meet the development needs of beginning and transitioning farmers.

    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.