Farmer Support

On-Farm Consulting

The Sustainable Farming Association was founded as the "farmer-to-farmer" network, based on the idea that another farmer is a farmer's best teacher. Firmly grounded on that idea, SFA offers its members on-farm coaching and consulting. SFA is unique in that all of our consultants are farmer practitioners actively managing their own farms on a daily basis.

There are not many experiences that compare to having another farmer walk your operation with you and dream with you about what your operation can be. Starting with the context of your farm, we aren't afraid to ask the tough questions to help you analyze and see your farm in a new way. Most often, the change occurs in the way that producers think about managing their operations.

We view our role as coaches, cheering you on and helping you see things that aren't obvious when you are hard at work on your farm. Because issues and opportunities are often more clear to those on the outside, we can effectively help you transition your farm to a more profitable operation, both economically and ecologically. It's not uncommon for other industries and businesses to utilize coaches. We believe farmers can benefit from them as well.

Here's How it Will Work

In the first half of 2024, we will launch a pilot cost-share model of On-Farm Consulting for our members. Valued at $2,000, participating farmers will pay for $500 (25%) in the form of a year-long SFA membership.

Every farm is different. We will work on your goals, driven by your needs and desires. Throughout a year-long term, our consultants will tailor their work with you to suit your context and needs.

This may include on-farm visits, conversations over the phone, email, or Zoom, or researching tools and resources for you.

Additionally, you will:

  • Get registration discounts for our signature events: Annual Conference and Midwest Soil Health Summit
  • Get registration discounts for intensives and other SFA events
  • Receive listing access to the SFA bulletin board
  • Receive access and the opportunity to be included in the SFA Member Directory

How to Get Started

  1. Complete our request form.
  2. Jonathan Kilpatrick will follow up with you in a 30 minute phone or Zoom call.
  3. If On-Farm Consulting is a good fit for your goals, you will complete the $500 cost-share payment  (must also be a member of SFA).
  4. The work begins!
Questions? Reach out to Jonathan Kilpatrick, jonathan@sfa-mn.org
Consulting

Our consultants have expertise in these areas:

Regenerative Crop systems, Cover cropping, Beef Production, Dairy, Adaptive Grazing, Custom Grazing, Small Ruminants, Poultry, Swine, Vegetables, Fruit, Orchard, Garlic, Direct marketing, Business Planning, Employee Management, Infrastructure Design, Fencing, Virtual Fencing, Farm design, Forestry, Silvopasture, Agroforestry, Maple Syrup, Resource Management, Agroecology, Livestock for invasive plant management

Some examples of what SFA Consultants have assisted farmers with:

  • Developing your farm business plan
  • Economic analysis of enterprises; identifying new opportunities that fit your context
  • Addressing resource concerns (financial, ecological, human, etc.)
  • Marketing products
  • Farm and infrastructure design
  • Grazing planning and fence/water design
  • Cover crop design, planting, and termination
  • Regenerative or sustainable cropping systems
  • Grass-based livestock production systems
  • Implementing and refining soil health practices
  • Silvopasture and agroforestry systems

Silvopasture & Agroforestry Technical Assistance

Consulting on silvopasture & agroforestry projects may be covered by a separate grant, while funds last. Your completed request form will inform funding access.

Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).

Questions? Reach out to Tyler Carlson, tyler@sfa-mn.org
TC Growers

Emerging Farmer Support

At SFA, we believe everyone has the potential and the right to become a sustainable farmer. We are committed to ensuring that SFA programs are welcoming and accessible to all by developing and advancing strategies to engage and support new and underserved farmers. We aim to cultivate a more diverse farm community and embrace the knowledge and experience of those most impacted by systemic inequality and injustice in agriculture.

Because we believe that diverse farm communities are fundamental to sustainable agriculture, to a robust farmer-to-farmer network, and to a resilient food system, SFA created the Emerging Farmer Initiative in 2021. A team of SFAers has been meeting consistently since then to explore how our organization can more fully embrace our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Early results of the committee's work include relationship-building with organizations leading in the emerging farmer space, inauguration of the emerging farmers networking lunch at our Annual Conference, and increasing access to our website content by making it available in multiple languages. Farmers who identified as emerging were invited to register free for our 2023 Annual Conference and the conference includes a session highlighting new funding opportunities for emerging farmers. SFA is committed to continuing to explore how we can more meaningfully support Minnesota farmers who have traditionally been underserved.

More resources will be added as we grow this work and webpage. Reach out to efi@sfa-mn.org for information and suggestions for growth.

Partner resources:

Farmer Support

Check back for upcoming events around farmer support!

Prescribed Goat Grazing for Savanna Restoration – SOLD OUT!

Jun 24, 2024 4:00PM—7:30PM

Lebanon Hills Regional Park Visitor Center 860 Cliff Rd Eagan, MN 55123

Holistic Approach to Weed Management for Specialty Crops

Jun 24, 2024 1:00PM—4:00PM

Cedar Crate Farm, 4396 240th Ave. Waldorf, MN 56091

Pasture Walk Series #3: Red Polls and a Greenhouse

Jun 27, 2024 6:00PM—8:00PM

1679 52nd St SW. Pequot Lakes, MN 56472

Farmer Support Resources