Published Jan 8, 2020

Growing Farmers: Using an Incubator Farm Model to Help Beginning Farmers

By Practical Farmers of Iowa


Access to land and limited business planning experience are two hurdles beginning farmers are likely to encounter. Dayna Burtness and her husband Nick have decided to support beginning farmers using an incubator farm model near Spring Grove, Minnesota.

The program provides access to 67 acres of grazable land, equipment and buildings, low-interest loans and joint-marketing opportunities for three seasons. During their first season together, Dayna and beginning farmers, Heidi Eger and Bailey Lutz, have learned how to navigate the successes and challenges of running and participating in an incubator farm.

Dayna Burtness has been farming on and off since 2004 and launched Nettle Valley Farm in 2015. She finishes heritage breed hogs on pasture and runs the farm’s beginning farmer program.

Heidi Eger of Radicle Heart Farm is a beginning farmer at Nettle Valley Farm and raises Katahdin/Dorper sheep and Freedom Ranger chickens.

Bailey Lutz has been farming for three years and raises Kiko goats and heritage breed ducks. The 2019 season at Nettle Valley Farm was Bailey’s first year operating as Listenmore Farm.

This farminar was recorded on January 7, 2020.