Farm Beginnings

Farm Beginnings Profile: A Raw Deal on Farmland

Using Farm Beginnings & Soil Health to Push Marginal Land Beyond Expectations

There are upsides to launching a farm on raw, open land: no broken-down outbuildings or junk piles to deal with, the ability to truly start anew from the soil up. Then…there’s the other side of the fence, so to speak. “I decided to move the sheep before they move themselves,” says Hannah Bernhardt with a…  Read More

Ear to the Ground No. 252: Stewardship as Measure

Beginning dairy farmer Carrie Redden talks about how she sees successful land stewardship and successful farming as deeply intertwined, and why more non-farmers need to make that connection as well. Carrie Redden was interviewed as part of the We Are Water initiative, which documented the stories of several farmers in the upper reaches of the…  Read More

Ear to the Ground No. 248: Giving a Damn About the Future of Ag

Over the past two decades, LSP’s Farm Beginnings course has developed into a nationally-recognized program for launching the next generation of innovative farmers. Karen Stettler and Amy Bacigalupo talk about how Farm Beginnings got started, the community-centered philosophy it’s based on, and where it’s headed. More on Farm Beginnings • For more on LSP’s Farm…  Read More

Farm Beginnings Profile: An Enigmatic Edge in Corn Country

This Gateway into Farming Hinges on Small Grains, Livestock & Soil Health With its pool table topography and coffee-colored soils, southern Minnesota’s Nicollet County perennially ranks as one of the top producers of corn and soybeans in the state, and land prices reflect it — in 2019 the average annual non-irrigated cropland rental rate in…  Read More

Farm Beginnings Profile: A Land-Based Launching Pad

Four Winds Farm Serves as a Staging Ground for New Agrarians

On a warm day in early October, the owner-operators of Clover Bee Farm are preparing a delivery for the 43 shareholders that make up their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) vegetable operation. Standing in a hoop house, Andrew Hanson-Pierre cleans dozens of fat onions, while across the farmyard in a barn that’s been converted to a…  Read More

The Grass Master’s Apprentice

An Innovative Farming System Requires Innovative Training One sign that you’re a solid employee is that the boss hates the idea of you walking out the door, never to return. So let’s consider the case of Ryan Heinen, who has worked on the west-central Minnesota dairy farm of Nate and Angie Walter for the past…  Read More

Farm Beginnings Profile: Running it Through the Mill

On an afternoon in late June, west-central Minnesota farmers Anne and Peter Schwagerl walk out of the bright sun into the deep shade of an old granary that has six separate storage areas for various kinds of harvested crops—a throwback to an era when most Midwestern farms produced more than corn and soybeans. On many…  Read More

Farm Beginnings Profile: The Curve of Binding Energy

Okay, calculus lesson of the day, courtesy of some pasture grass, fencing and a herd of ruminants. Calculus, in case you’ve forgotten, is the mathematical study of rates of change. It can be a handy way to calculate where you’re headed and how long it will take to get there. Let’s say you are a…  Read More

Farm Beginnings Profile: Andy Cotter & Irene Genelin

Wheeling into the Future

It’s not every day that you see the words “unicyclists” and “farming” used in the same sentence, but here we go: national and world champion unicyclists Andy Cotter and Irene Genelin launched a farming operation a half-a-dozen years ago. Now, this is the part of the story that cries out for a familiar trope like…  Read More