Shoshanah Inwood and farm family at a market

Helping Farm Families Thrive From One Generation to the Next

Shoshanah Inwood in a gardenShoshanah Inwood

The Ohio State University

SARE grant: Sustaining the Family Farm at the Rural-Urban Interface: Farm Succession Processes of Alternative Food and Agricultural Enterprises and Traditional Commodity Farmers (2006)

Where she is now: Assistant Professor, University of Vermont

The modest funding Shoshanah Inwood received through her SARE Graduate Student grant helped her uncover such important information about farm succession at the rural-urban interface (RUI), she later leveraged the results into more than $1 million in additional funding. First as a student at Ohio State University and now as an assistant professor at the University of Vermont, she is identifying strategies that help families pass their farm on to the next generation.

Agriculture is one of the most dangerous occupations in the country. For young and aging farmers, health insurance impacts their quality of life and health, as well as the financial viability of their farm business. If they have a large enough number of employees, farmers must provide them insurance, and requirements vary across states.

Inwood's SARE-funded project, conducted in 2007-2009, identified several different strategies farm families employ to create opportunities for the next generation of farmers. She learned how important accessibility and affordability of healthcare is to the future of the family farm, a thread that would become the focus of much of her later work. One of Inwood’s more recent projects has led to the creation of a website ( that shares tools and information with farm and ranch families about their unique health insurance needs and options.

The Health Insurance, Rural Economic Development and Agriculture website shares information about the health insurance needs of farm families, at

See scholarly publications at

“The social sciences are so important to the future of farming, but results can be intangible ... SARE’s investment in understanding these complex questions is incredibly important and critical to building a stronger, more resilient food and agriculture system.”

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