Massachusetts Farmer Consultant Program - American Farmland Trust

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Farmer Consultant Program

The purpose of the Healthy Soils Farmer Consultant Program is to provide farmers who are newly adopting healthy soils practices, with access to farmers who are experts in specific healthy soils practices (across scales, areas of expertise, and farm products), while compensating experienced farmers fairly for their time. A secondary purpose of this program is to improve the quality of local agricultural research and technical support by allowing our Healthy Soils Farmer Consultants to be a sounding board for non-profit technical service providers.

Each farmer seeking consulting services can request up to 6 hours of consulting time with one or more of our available consultants.

This program is limited to Massachusetts farmers. It is funded by support from the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture and is managed by the Massachusetts Coordinated Soil Health Program.

How To Utilize This Program

Massachusetts farmers seeking advice about soil health practices such as tillage reduction, cover cropping, organic transition, compost and manure management and related practices are welcome to reach out to directly our farmer consultants to request support.

If you do not see a farmer consultant who matches your needs, please email the program coordinator a brief description of your technical support needs and we will try to find someone outside of this program who can help you.

Each of our Farmer Consultants has preferences about how you reach out to them to request support and when they are generally available for consulting. The farmer consultants are all full-time working farmers so please be attentive to their availability constraints. Please see below for a description of each farmer consultant, their expertise, and their contact information, and their availability.

Meet Our Farmer Consultants

Jen Salinetti (she/her) is a co-founder, farmer, and the Director of Education & Community Engagement at Woven Roots Farm. Jen has 20 years of experience in hand-scale, no-till farming systems.  Jen, her husband and her crew grow over 200 CSA shares and serve 2 wholesale accounts, feeding over 1000 people per week with just over 1.3 acres in production. In addition to her farming work, Jen is a skilled educator teaching at the intersection of agriculture, soil health, climate resiliency, food systems and social justice.
Equipment and Tools: Jen’s equipment and tool experience includes standard hand tools and push seeders, the tilther, and walk behind tractors for compost spreading (a full sized tractor is used for compost management but not for spreading).
Contact Jen about: Hand-scale no-till systems for vegetable production.

Availability: Please allow 48 hours for response.

Contact Jen:

Wally Czajkowski (he/him) is a lifelong Hadley farmer growing vegetables and tobacco.  For 10 years Wally has been successful growing winter squash and pumpkins using zone tillage and wants to share that experience. Wally is interested in reduced tillage strategies, cover cropping, and is insulted when he hears folks calling soil “dirt”.
Contact Wally for help with: Zone tillage for pumpkins and winter squash, cover cropping, and drip irrigation.
Equipment and Tools: Wally has experience with the zone builder, front-mounted row cleaners, planters adapted with row cleaners, rolling cultivators, subsoilers, and sprayers.
Availability: Most availability is December through April. During the growing season, call evenings or Sunday afternoons.

Contact Wally: (413) 237-2616

Laura Davis (she/her) has 11 years of experience with hand scale no till vegetable farming. She co-founded and co-runs Long Life Farm, a 2.5 acre farm serving 90 CSA members and two farmers’ markets. Long Life Farm is certified organic by Baystate Organic Certifiers and is also certified by the Real Organic Project. Remineralization (balancing soil macronutrients and optimizing soil micronutrients) has been a particular focus at Long Life Farm. In addition to her farming work, Laura also works as an organic inspector for Baystate Organic Certifiers, serves as the President of the Board of NOFA/Mass, and works as a Technical Advisor for NOFA/Mass, helping farmers navigate organic certification and providing comprehensive and holistic fertility recommendations based on soil lab results.
Equipment and Tools: Laura’s equipment and tool experience includes standard hand tools and push seeders, tarps, and BCS implements.
Contact Laura for help with: Transitioning to organic practices, soil fertility planning, no till amendment application strategies, cover crop planting and termination methods for small farms, mulching and weed management for hand scale farms.
Availability: Please allow 48 hours for response.

Contact Laura:

Tristram Keefe (he/him) is the Farm Manager at The Urban Farming Institute of Boston. He is driven by a desire to create positive change environmentally and socially through growing food in the community where he was raised and lives with his family. For the past 10 years, Tristram has been growing mixed vegetables on 1.5 acres across 6 different growing spaces in Boston. During this time his focus has been on low-till production methods utilizing hand-scale tools, and healthy soil practices for urban farm settings. Tristram has also served as the co-facilitator for the Urban Farmer Training Program, a groundbreaking course offering agricultural training and educational program for Boston residents since 2013.
Contact Tristram about: Healthy soils practices for urban farms, including low and no-till practices, intercropping, biointensive farming practices, mulching, and working with imported/ non-native soils.
Availability: Please reach out on weekdays only, and please allow 48 hours for response.

Contact Tristram: (617) 514-0540

Jono Neiger (he/him) operates Big River Chestnuts, a multi-site, collaborative chestnut agroforestry farm operating in Western Massachusetts. The primary crop is chestnuts, with additional diversified cropping and livestock integration. Other crops produced include small fruit, walnuts, hazelnuts, heartnuts, pawpaw, persimmon, and forage crops for livestock. Founded in 2018, the farm is 20.5 acres in production with an additional 52 acres going into production in 2024. The farm is organic and “Real organic” certified. Jono also does farm and agroforestry planning through Regenerative Design Group, a small design and planning firm in western MA. Jono has 30+ years of professional experience in agroforestry, permaculture, ecological land and site planning, conservation, and restoration.
Equipment and Tools: Small tractors and implements (spreaders, tree planters), standard hand tools, a wide range of mowing equipment across scales, chainsaw and pruning tools.
Contact Jono about: Agroforestry, perennial cropping systems (and soil management in perennial systems), silvopasture, water management, soil test interpretation (logan labs).
Availability: Jono is in the field a lot during the growing season. Please allow 48 hours for response, and please ping again if no response.

Contact Jono:


Soil Health Technical Support from American Farmland Trust Staff

AFT’s staff have a substantial body of technical knowledge, and love to answer farmers’ questions!

Julie Fine: Reach out to Julie for help with soil health systems for all scales of vegetable production, especially cover cropping (species, mixes, timing of planting, and termination). Julie can also help with tillage reduction strategies, soil health equipment, and with soil test results interpretation. Contact Julie:
Cheryl Cesario: Reach out to Cheryl for questions related to soil health in the context of dairy farming, including regenerative and sustainable forage crops production and rotational grazing. Contact Cheryl:
Bill Fosher: Reach out to Bill for support with pasture management, rotational grazing, and sustainable livestock production. Bill is especially experienced in raising sheep, but has also raised poultry, pigs, and beef cattle. Contact Bill:
Caro Roszell: Reach out to Caro for support with soil health management planning, small farm systems for tillage reduction, soil health sampling and visual, in-field assessment of soil health. Contact Caro: