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DEVELOPMENT CORNER

Texas Beginning Women Farmer Program Results he Beginning Women Farmer Training Program in Texas began in August 2012 when funding from the uSDA/NIFA Beginning Farmer and rancher Development Program (Grant #2012-494001963) was awarded to HMI. 30 women were accepted into the Texas program for the 2012-2013 program year and 28 completed the program successfully. The State Coordinator was Peggy cole and the instructor was Peggy Sechrist. Program mentors were Peggy maddox, Kathy harris, betsy ross, and Laurie bostic. At the end of each of the 10 sessions (6-8 hours in length and held over 5 twoday periods) participants filled out evaluations to measure knowledge and attitude change, intended behavior change, and actual change. There was a final program evaluation that also measured these changes with the whole program in mind and the changes and results of those changes that took place over a seven-month period. The data below demonstrates that a high level of knowledge and attitude change occurred and that the women completed or modified numerous farm plans (actual behavior change) which resulted in many benefits. Most participants experienced increased confidence in key farm/ranch management practices (90-97% participants). Participant behavior change was mostly in the 90-100% range where there was sufficient time for developing plans or taking action during the program. Additional survey and evaluations will be done in a year to determine continued behavior change and additional benefits that result from that change. In 8 out of the 10 sessions 100% of the participants noted knowledge change. That knowledge change varied depending on content of sessions, but key content area change was in the 85-157% range. Interestingly, large levels of knowledge change did not always correlate to high levels of satisfaction with a given session (although overall satisfaction with sessions were 86% or higher).

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Participant Demographic information Of the 30 participants the following demographics were: • Average 4.8 years of farming (range: 1 – 10 years with only 2 having one or less years of experience) • 42,734 acres under production (range: 1 - 34,000 acres with a median of 80 acres) • race: 3% Hispanic, 97% Anglo • Age: 60% over 50, 40% under 50 • Farming Experience: 100% less than 10 years experience • Total customers of all participants: 1,135 • 27 were livestock producers, 9 were small scale vegetable/fruit producers, and 3 were large crop production (some did two different types of operation) These demographics suggest that this program (over a 3-year period in 7 states) will result in 14,400 more customers having access to a sustainable food system as these women increase their knowledge, continue to plan more effectively and implement those plans so that they improve their ability to manage all resources (human, financial, and natural).

16 IN PRACTICE

July / August 2013

Key Programmatic outcomes The knowledge gained, the confidence built, and the intentions to implement actions show that the sessions were very effective in educating the participants. likewise, the high numbers of expressed satisfaction (ranging from 86 – 97% for all sessions) indicate that the participants felt the program was successful. See the following tables for key areas of knowledge, confidence, intended behavior change, actual behavior change, and subsequent results of that behavior change due to this program. For more detailed results of this program, visit HMI’s website under case studies. Top Areas of increased Farmer/rancher confidence Due to Program Topic Area % of Participants human resource management Managing time on the farm ................................................97% Making complex decisions on the farm ..............................93% Developing and writing whole farm goals ...........................91% Implementing strategic systems and projects ....................91% Providing leadership on the farm .......................................86% Financial resource management Identifying logjams and adverse factors .............................97% Developing a business plan ...............................................96% Prioritizing and cutting farm expenses to guide re-investment ........................................................93% Getting profit from the farm ................................................93% Identifying cash flow issues on farm ..................................93% Determining weak link in farm enterprises .........................90% Assessing the competition .................................................88% Developing a marketing plan that meets your farm goals ...............................................................88% Determining viable profitable enterprises ...........................87% Monitoring financial plan ....................................................83% Natural resource management Assessing recovery periods in grazing systems ................97% Determining residency periods in grazing systems ............96% Monitoring farm eco-system health ....................................96% Ability to prioritize land infrastructure improvements ..........96% Ability to incorporate natural resource issues into land planning ...........................................................96% Improving soil eco-system health on the farm ....................93% Top Areas of Actual behavior change Due to Program Plans created/Action Taken % of Participants Holistic Goal/Whole Farm Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100% Forge relationships that Positively Impact Farmer . . . . .100% Holistic Decision Making . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .96% Financial Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .93% Business Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .90% land Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .90% Grazing Plan (of those raising livestock) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .84% Biological Monitoring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80%

#150 In Practice, July/August 2013  
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