It may seem that crafting a career in regenerative agriculture as a beginning agrarian is mostly about learning the hands-on skills: fixing water lines, building fences, irrigation, etc. Many of us learn in the third or fourth year of working in this industry that when we start to think about what’s next, it’s the skills that aren’t often talked about that come to challenge us the most: self-advocacy, storytelling, decision-making, resourcefulness, putting theory to practice on our own, entrepreneurship, mental wellness, fostering strong relationships.
Quivira Coalition’s New Agrarian Program is delighted to invite you to The New Agrarian Toolkit: A Webinar Series to Dig Deep and Level Up. Inspired by beginning agrarian input and years of conversations with folks like you, we’ve designed this webinar series for our program alumni as well as any beginning agrarians seeking community in diving deeper into these topics.
This webinar series took place during the Spring/Summer 2023 and the recordings are below.
Telling Your Story with Alexis Bonogofsky
April 12 | 6:00pm – 7:30pm MT
As the next generation of young agrarians, we spend a lot of time taking in content. We learn from others in-person, we read their stories, follow them on Instagram, listen to them on podcasts, watch their videos. Have you ever thought of your own story as being meaningful in this media landscape? Probably not. We tend to feel like our own stories are too small or they feel like “special cases” because they weren’t linear and perfect. Or maybe we just don’t know how to go about it.
In this webinar, Alexis Bonogofsky will empower you to share your story, no matter how big, small, weird, or normal. Using social media, creative writing, podcasts, videos, etc. you can create a platform that not only builds your professional image for future career opportunities, but you will hone important life skills and maybe even help to inspire others and change narratives.
Small Ruminants & Multi-Species Grazing
May 10 | 6:00pm – 7:30PM MT
While cattle can be an amazing tool for managing land, beginning agrarians often struggle with accessing enough land, capital, and infrastructure to start a cattle operation. However, many folks find success in beginning with small ruminants like sheep and goats. NCAT (National Centers for Appropriate Technology) staff members Linda Poole and Tracy Mumma along with Tracy’s daughter, Lina will cover small ruminants in the West: wool sheep, hair sheep, goats, small multi-species grazing, soil health and custom grazing weed control. Bring your hairiest (or woolliest) questions for this knowledgeable panel.
Putting Soil Health into Practice
June 14 | 6:00 – 7:30pm MT
Soil health can be a really abstract topic for those of us who are out working on the ranch everyday and it is not always easy to get creative and try new practices to improve the soil. In this webinar, we will learn from other ranchers and farmers and hear what they have tried and in which ways it has succeeded or not succeeded. Joining us as speakers will be Nancy & Steve Oswald (Oswald Cattle Company, Cotopaxi, CO), Mihail Kennedy (B Bar Ranch, Big Timber, MT), and MJ Picket (Calder Farm, Gunnison, CO). We will hear stories and takeaways from all three speakers, who have tried different approaches to improving soil health on their ranch/farm and see pictures of the setups and outcomes.
Launching a New Enterprise
July 12 | 6:00 – 7:30pm MT
When you’re faced with an interesting opportunity to take stewardship of a land base, to expand an enterprise or to create your own operation, how do you make the decision whether or not to pursue it? Do you just follow your gut, or trust the results of late night kitchen table conversations with your partner? Do you make a pro/con list, and then perhaps lose it? As a beginning rancher, the opportunity to build your own business will likely present itself sooner or later. Maybe your boss allows you to lease a piece of land for a poultry enterprise. Perhaps your neighbor will let you run cattle on her property in exchange for some meat. Opportunities may be great, but are they great for you, now? We need trustworthy methods when trying to find cogent answers to questions like:
- How hard will this actually be?
- What tools, resources, relationships might I need to be successful?
- How much will everything cost to get started?
- Will this make money, and how long will that take?
- How much time will the endeavor take, and am I being realistic about whether I can take on this commitment?
- Is this pit in my stomach healthy excitement that I should listen to, or am I jumping the gun?
In this webinar, Olivia Tincani, farm and ranch business educator and consultant, will share insights to help you evaluate opportunities and answer those large looming questions in a measured way and with a replicable practice that you can repeat throughout our entrepreneurial journey. We will spend the first half of the webinar walking through an Opportunity Map, a “back of the napkin” business planning tool that organizes the pathways to critical thinking about how to start, scale, expand or change course in your enterprise endeavors. Then we’ll open up the dialogue for an open conversation powered by your questions. We’ll create a safe space for you to bring your ideas, fears, quandaries and excitement to Olivia and discuss together with your peers.
This event will equip you with tools and a mindset for big picture decision-making. Our goal is to inspire you to use a careful approach and avoid expensive and risky “trial-and-error” as the only route to a business or enterprise launch. It is not a webinar on in-depth business planning. It will not answer your questions about the difference between an LLC or an S-Corp how to find a farm-friendly insurance policy, how to acquire land or capital but rather help you know when in your business idea development you’ll need to know those answers, and a process for finding them.
Teams that Thrive
August 2 | 6:00 – 7:30pm MT
As ranching changes and evolves over time, so do the teams that make them thrive. In August’s New Agrarian Toolkit Webinar we will speak with two non-traditional ranch teams that successfully find a rhythm in day to day ranching. Both teams are made up of owners, managers, and an apprentice from the Quivira Coalition’s New Agrarian Program (NAP). In this webinar we will learn of the strengths and challenges these teams face daily, what makes them successful, and strategies you can bring into your own working teams. We’ll highlight realistic challenges in working with a group of people with deep passions during long physical days on a ranch. We’re excited to have the team from Oxbow Cattle Company located just outside of Missoula, Montana. Bart Morris and Wendy Morris, owners of Oxbow Cattle, started the company in 2014. Natalie Berkman has worked for Morris’ since 2022. Natalie is a NAP alumni, she apprenticed for 2 seasons for the Milton Ranch in Roundup, Montana. The Oxbow team will be joined by our very own Julie Sullivan, NAP Mentor Support Specialist. She and her husband own and operate San Juan Ranch near Saguache CO, and are the NAP founding mentors. Joining Julie will be Noelle McDonough, NAP alumnus and now co-manager at San Juan Ranch. Together, these speakers bring decades of experience in mentorship and fostering healthy working teams.
Life Hacks for the Long Haul: Emotional Wellness for Agrarians and their Communities
September 13 | 6:00 – 7:30pm MT
For the last installment of the Toolkit series, we hope you will join us for a presentation and group conversation about how we stay healthy and well amidst current stressors and struggles of working in agriculture. How do you deal with the chronic stressors that are in and out of your control? What are your strongest protective factors? How does community, connection and isolation impact us? How do we show up for ourselves and our neighbors when times are tough and going well? We’ll also explore and discuss tools for maintaining physical and mental wellness. Facilitators are Clinton Wilson of AgWell and Chad Reznicek of Colorado AgrAbility Project.
This work is supported by a Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant, award #2020-70017-32425, from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.