UVM Extension’s New Farmer Project and Women’s Agricultural Network received a three-year, $600,000 USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) grant. The funding will enable the delivery of education and decision support tools to beginning farmers and ranchers that will help them increase labor management knowledge and confidence. The program will also help beginner farmers adopt employee recruitment, supervision and retention practices to improve farm business performance and/or farmer satisfaction with quality of life.
This multi-state project will build labor management competencies among a variety of beginning farmer and rancher (BFR) audiences in the Northeast and Midwest. It will integrate approaches that specifically address the needs of beginning farm and ranch women (BFRW). Female operators, a historically under-served agricultural audience, now represent 41 percent of all U.S. beginning farmers and ranchers. A growing body of literature shows that women farmers and ranchers have both overlapping and diverging content and delivery needs and preferences from their male counterparts.
By acknowledging and responding to gendered issues related to labor management in agricultural settings, the project aims to help more and more diverse new farm operators succeed and scale up to economically viable levels.
Project activities include:
- Developing information resources and tools.
- Delivering small-group workshops.
- Developing and maintaining online decision support resources and 24/7 learning modules.
- Facilitating peer learning circles to support farm-level changes.
- Farm Commons
- The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service
- Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont
- Renewing the Countryside
- University of New Hampshire
- University of Wisconsin
- Vermont Grass Farmers Association
- Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers Association
- Vital Communities
The project is led by New Farmer Project and WAgN Coordinator Beth Holtzman.