Adjusting your Farm Plan to Avoid the Bumps in the Road

November 17, 2016

The Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota (SFA) supports the development and enhancement of sustainable farming systems through farmer-to-farmer networking, innovation, demonstration, and education.

In 2012, SFA received a $165,294 NCR-SARE Research and Education grant to work on two programs, Adjust 2015 and the New Farm Reality Check™.

Through paid surveys and interviews with beginning farmers, Adjust 2015 will summarize the stories of farmers who have had less than desired success, or have had to make changes to their operations and plans in order to survive. Adjust 2015 will be the basis for SFA’s New Farm Reality Check™ educational materials, which will be available to beginning farmer-training courses throughout the North Central region.

“SFA’s New Farm Reality Check™ is not a new beginning farmer education program. It is a curriculum to be used by current or future beginning farmer educational programs, and it is also a stand-alone half-day workshop that will present findings and suggest ways to avoid pitfalls/plan for success,” said John Mesko, Executive Director of SFA. 

The work is still underway, but so far SFA has conducted 232 surveys of farmers who had struggled in the beginning of their farming careers or had exited. These surveys and interviews have been the basis for the educational modules they are developing.  Evaluations from conference presentations have informed another round of revisions to the educational modules, which will be available later in 2015.

View John's presentation on this project, from the 2015 Farmers Forum, through NCR-SARE's YouTube playlist. Visit for this and other videos.

View Related SARE Grant:

Topics: Education and Training, Farm Business Management
Related Locations: North Central