BFRDP Projects

Building Labor Management Know-How Among Beginning Farmers
[Progress Report]

Award Amount: $594,372
Grant Program: 2021 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: Beth Holtzman
Organization: University of Vermont Extension


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

Farm labor is among the most significant challenges beginning farmers and ranchers (BFRs) encounter as they seek to establish financially viable businesses. Through this project we are working to increase labor management skills and confidence, and adopt employee recruitment, training, supervision and retention practices that improve farm business performance and/or farmer satisfaction with quality of life.

Informed by recent research and direct farmer input, our activities are engaging producers from the Upper Midwest and Northeast regions where labor challenges constrain post start-up farmers’ ability to scale up their farm businesses. The project is building labor management competencies among all BFR participants but includes specific content and delivery strategies aimed at meeting the needs of women. A growing body of literature suggests that female operators, an historically under-served farm audience that now represent 41% of all US BFRs, typically have both overlapping and divergent content needs and delivery preferences than their male counterparts. 

Project objectives are: 1) assemble curricula geared to our target audiences; 2) conduct outreach to 3,600 BFRs, including 2,400 women; 3) deliver small-group workshops that build labor management competency; 4) provide online decision support resources; 5) facilitate peer learning circles to support farm-level changes; and 6) conduct monitoring/evaluation activities throughout the project. By the conclusion of the project we are aiming to serve 360 BFRs, including at least 240 who are female.

Partners include: Farm Commons, the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service, Renewing the Countryside, University of New Hampshire, University of Wisconsin, Vermont Grass Farmers Association, Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers Association, Vital Communities.

Number of Participants: 286


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