BFRDP Projects

A Pathway to Livestock Farming: Providing Access to Land and A Guiding Hand
[Final Report]

Award Amount: $219,274
Grant Program: 2015 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: WENDY WARREN
Organization: Southwest Badger Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

The project develops opportunities to start farming on rented land with financial coaching and guidance from experienced farmer-mentors. Mentors in the program could be paid hourly for time spent mentoring or in a lump sum upon accomplishing the program goals. Notably, the mentors who pursued the lump payments helped two mentees to learn how to fence and seed cropland, based on the experience that the mentors gained as mentees in the program. Overall through the program we documented 14 successful mentorships between beginning and experienced livestock farmers. According to participants’ exit surveys during the past three years, six people started farming, total herd size increased by 107 cows, farm acreage increased by a total of 222 acres, and gross farm income by $144,300 or ~$5,300 per participant.

SW Badger promoted contract grazing, or grazing livestock for other people to get cash income. The website helps livestock producers to connect with landowners to rent land. Fifty-three producers and 66 landowners completed profiles. The Grazing Broker Handbook that describes how to rent land for managed grazing was downloaded 72 times and was used as training curriculum during 13 farm visits and four workshops that reached 185 beginning farmers and landowners.

The Grazing Broker was invited to speak at several conferences in Wisconsin during the final year of the project. We used the information from these speaking tours to develop two tools: the land investment assessment and land rental assessment. These new tools were used during 6 farm visits and 5 workshops that reached 196 beginning farmers and landowners. Participants reported that the tools helped them to better understand their options for raising livestock and renting land. The Mentorship Program for Future Livestock Farmers has helped the Grazing Broker program to better serve the needs of landowners and farmers in Southwest Wisconsin.

Number of Participants: 480


Promotional Materials

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Educational Materials

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Reports & Evaluations

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Delivery Area

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Individual Stories / Examples of Success