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Sustainability Means Handing it Down

A Minnesota Dairy Farm Transitions from One Family to the Next Atop the river-bluffs near the southeastern Minnesota community of La Crescent, the 90-plus Ayrshires of Enchanted Meadows Organic Farm munch on fescue, clovers, plantain and other greenery on a recent summer day. Then, on schedule, they’re led from pasture to barn. Recently, after 10…  Read More

Farm Beginnings Profile: Micro Goals-Big Plans

Walking down a sloping lane on a spring afternoon, Luke and Liana Tessum surprise an Angus beef cow wandering up from a bottomland paddock. The lone bovine, and 18 cow-calf pairs grazing on the pasture below, represent the reaching of what the 30-something couple calls yet one more “micro-goal.” In December, the Tessums paid off…  Read More

Crop Insurance: Let the Next Generation of Farmers In

The Land Stewardship Project recently published a three-part expose of the federal crop insurance program. The white papers are titled: “Crop Insurance-the Corporate Connection,” “Crop Insurance Ensures the Big Get Bigger” and “How Crop Insurance Hurts the Next Generation of Farmers.” The final paper title provides the key to LSP’s concern. The introductory article says…  Read More

A Dairy Farm Rises From the Ashes

Not long ago, Rich and Carol Radtke were on a bit of a roll. They had graduated from the Land Stewardship Project’s Farm Beginnings course and felt the program had provided them a solid basis for developing a profitable farming operation on land they and their three children moved to in 2008. Before taking the…  Read More

Taking That Next Farming Step? Consider LSP’s Journeyperson Course

The first decade of a farm is full of challenge, sweat, growth, difficult lessons, satisfaction and joy. In order to get more successful farmers on the land, new farmers need to establish their farms in a way that cultivates financial, ecological, personal and relationship sustainability. Land Stewardship Project’s Journeyperson Course wants to help you achieve…  Read More

Super Soil, Super Food

We have learned that quality produce on our eight-acre vegetable farm starts with the soil—soil that teems with life at both the macro- and micro-level. First, some background: I had grown up on a conventional hay, corn and soybean farm in western Iowa and moved to Rochester, Minn., for work after getting a mechanical engineering…  Read More

Prospective Farmers Ask the Key Questions at Farm Dreams

A group of prospective farmers gathered recently for a Land Stewardship Project Farm Dreams workshop at Gale Woods Farm in Minnetrista, Minn., to network and identify next steps in their journey into farming. Farm Dreams is a four-hour workshop designed to help people clarify what motivates them to farm, get their vision on paper, inventory…  Read More

Farm Beginnings Profile: Amy Haben & Tom Moore

Making a Farm a Working Asset

Amy Haben and Tom Moore ride a golf cart over a rickety wooden bridge spanning Otter Creek and follow a path to a lush pasture where a couple dozen head of Scottish Highland cattle graze, their shaggy coats luminescent in the late afternoon sun of a June day. “Before they grazed the edge of the…  Read More

MN State College Was Wrong to Suspend Sustainable Food Production Program

As a farmer, sociologist and instructor in the Sustainable Food Production (SFP) diploma program at Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls, I was stunned as I read in Agri-News on Feb. 5 about why the program was abruptly suspended: “ …’people will move on and start their own farms,’ ” said Mary…  Read More

Good News on the Beginning Farmer Front

What with ridiculously high land prices and Washington’s inability to focus on agriculture long enough to pass a Farm Bill, it’s easy to get down about the prospects for beginning farmers these days. That’s why a national meeting held in Rochester, Minn., earlier this month was so important—not only because it proved that there are…  Read More