Every year the University of Minnesota Extension pick a farm family of the year for each county. This year in 2020, we were picked to be Kanabec County’s Farm Family of the Year! To see all the farms picked go here. We are so honored to be among these farm families!
We were even featured in our local newspaper, The Kanabec County Times, July 23rd issue. That would have been our county fair week where we would be recognized during the 4H livestock auction. Because of the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, this among other activities was cancelled. Here is the write up that Terry Salmela did in our paper:
Nelson Grass Farm is this year’s Kanabec County Farm Family of the Year. The farm is located in Arthur Township east of Ogilvie. In 2020 they are raising 500 laying hens, 2,000 broilers, and 30 pigs on pasture. Each animal group is moved regularly on pasture. They also have two livestock guardian dogs to help protect their livestock.
In 2011, Ryan and Desiree Nelson purchased their 76-acre farm near Ogilvie in Kanabec County. A year later, doing business as Nelson Grass Farm, the Nelsons raised their first batch of broilers, along with laying hens, and pigs rotating on pasture in mobile shelters. The family direct markets their pasture-raised meat and eggs to consumers.
The Nelsons run the farm and all the tasks that come along with a small business. Ryan is the master builder and business guru for the farm, while Desiree maintains records, takes orders, and does weekly deliveries. Both manage the day-to-day chores and animal rotations. Their children, Olivia and Cooper, are learning life lessons on the farm including helping to load animals for processing among other tasks that require additional hands.
The couple have been members of the Sustainable Farming Association where Ryan serves as a board member of the East Central Chapter. They are also members of the American Pastured Poultry Association and they are enrolled in the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification program of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Both Olivia and Cooper are involved in Kanabec County 4-H.
The Minnesota Farm Family recognition program is sponsored by the University of Minnesota Extension; the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and the Minnesota Agriculture Experiment Station along with Farmfest.
Minnesota county farm families are usually honored each August at Farmfest near Redwood Falls, Minnesota. This year, Farmfest has been cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic. So, the 2020 farm families will be recognized at Farmfest 2021. Locally, the Nelson family plans to be in the Back-to-the-Tower parade in Ogilvie on Aug. 8. They will also be recognized at the 2021 Kanabec County Fair.
We are happy to represent the regenerative agriculture movement in our state and hope more families like us will be recognized in the future.
Photo Credit: Linda Ford Photography