On the farm: Rachel is a fifth-generation cattle producer in Blackduck, Minnesota. After teaching for 14 years, she returned full-time to the farm where she works alongside her husband, parents, uncle, and her son and his family. Little Timber Farms’ mission is to raise cattle on grass, improve soil and water quality, and pass the farm on to the next generation. She continued her father's legacy of turning great grasses into protein for people after he converted cropland to rotational grazing pastures. Little Timber also has buffers along its waterways, pollinator plots, windbreaks, and wildlife habitat throughout the land.
Industry and community involvement: Rachel participates in Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom and CommonGround Minnesota sharing information about farming and food. She is also chair of the Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association (MNSCA) Cow-Calf Board.
Why did you decide to participate on the RIPE Steering Committee? On our farm, we have been using conservation practices for many years. I made the effort to participate on the committee so that the voice of livestock producers could be heard. I feel that being on the offense is important. So many times programming for farmers comes from the top down, and with this program, I feel like we have a chance to build something from the perspective of the farmer.
What impact would the RIPE100 policy have on farmers and ranchers? I believe that the impact will be twofold. The first piece is education. As we move forward, I hope that farmers and ranchers learn about new practices that they can adopt to improve soil health and conservation on their farms.
The second impact is economical. I hope that once producers see the economic benefit to the practice, not just the payment, but the benefits of putting the practice on their farm, that it will cause the producer to be more financially independent and as such increase the economic benefit to communities. For example, if a producer can put a rotational grazing system into place and then see more profits due to that system increasing stocking rates, the producer is likely to pass that added income on to the community by way of purchasing more goods and services.
What are you reading, watching or listening to lately? Lately I have Shane Smith and the Saints, Riddy Arman and Green Day on my playlist. I am reading a book called “The Windjammers” by Oliver Allen. My Dad, niece, brother and I are going on a sailing adventure off the coast of Maine in August, so it seemed fitting.
Learn more about our steering committee members here.