The Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota (SFA-MN) has provided new and experienced farmers with resources for decades. Over time, both consumer demand and the business challenges faced by farmers have grown and changed. SFA-MN has refined its efforts as the demand for local foods sustainably produced in the Upper Midwest continues to grow. This includes grass-fed livestock production, consumer education, and improving soil health.
An issue of focus is the new farmer as new business person. How can fledgling farmers succeed when confronted with myriad agricultural demands as well as with a steep business-management learning curve? What happens when the farm’s performance doesn’t meet the farmer’s expectations? What if the business plan fails? And what does the farm family do if it becomes exhausted before the end of the season?
Plan-vs-reality is one of the areas explored by SFA-MN, and preliminary findings can be found on the organization’s website, www.sfa-mn.org. This study is informing SFA-MN in a curriculum that will help others working with new farmers and established farmers striving to shift to more sustainable methods.
In this Deep Roots Radio interview, SFA-MN Executive Director John Mesko introduces us to this initiative, as well as to many of the other farmer-to-farmer and farmer-to-consumer networking opportunities scheduled over the next several months.
I hope you enjoy the interview. And please visit the SFA-MN website to learn about resources and upcoming events.