Published Feb 1, 2017

Effective Mentor Relationships

By Practical Farmers of Iowa



Through our work with beginning farmers at Practical Farmers of Iowa, we’ve learned how beneficial having a mentor can be for those getting started. Learning from someone else’s triumphs and failures can save new farmers many seasons of trial and error, giving them a greater chance for success. This farminar will feature experienced farmer and mentor Denise O’Brien and beginning farmers Ali Clark and Scott Yahnke, who have formed a mentor relationship throughout the past year. Hear tips for both beginning and experienced farmers on how to form an effective mentor relationship.

Denise O’Brien and her husband, Larry Harris, own and operate Rolling Acres Farm, a certified organic CSA and wholesale farm north of Atlantic, Iowa. They have been farming for 40 years and currently raise fruits, vegetables, chickens and turkeys. Denise is co-founder of the Women, Food and Agriculture Network, and has served as a farming mentor for WFAN and PFI for many years.

Scott Yahnke and Ali Clark together manage Little Mountain Farm in Honey Creek, Iowa, which they started in 2016 on rented land to grow fresh organic vegetables, fruits, herbs, plant starts and flowers. Ali and Scott hope to eventually farm on owned or long-term leased land, have a farm store and grow their other seasonal business, Snowshoe Candy Co.