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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

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

 

Mike Davidian (he/him) grows 70 acres of vegetables and corn, using both synthetic and organic fertilizers, with cover crop mixes and reduced tillage practice. After adopting soil conscious practices Mike has seen an increase in marketable product yield. Davidian’s Farm Market was able to achieve a total conversion of equipment using both MDAR grants and USDA conservation programs. Mike attended the UMaine Compost School and makes all of his own compost on farm.
Equipment and Tools: Mike has experience with using a no-till drill, no-till corn planter, compost spreader, Forigo GS35-170  Stone Burier / Plastic Layer and just recently added a zone tiller to his fleet and will be beginning use in 2022.
Contact Mike for help with: Identifying grants and financial assistance options for soil health practices, adopting more soil health friendly practices for crops, and making on-farm compost.
 Availability: Please allow 48 hours for response

Contact Mike

 

Jim Koebke (he/him) runs Walnut Lane Farm, a dairy and beef production with 100-150 head of cattle. Jim has transitioned his land from primarily silage corn production to 130 acres of perennial hay crop and no-till mixed cover crop for bailage (rotated through the hay crop fields) and 100 acres of permanent pasture. Jim’s farm is entirely no-till and soil health focused; Jim has completely transitioned away from synthetic fertilizers in recent years and has been experimenting with the use of foliar organic fertilizers to improve crop performance and nutrient cycling. This has reduced Jim’s fertilizer costs and improved his soil health.
Equipment and tools: No till drill, John Deere 7200 Max Emerge corn planter.
Contact Jim for help with: Soil health for livestock fields, grazing practices, pasture health and transitioning to organic fertilizers in livestock production fields.
Availability: The best time to call or text Jim is in the morning around 9am (after milking) and if that’s not a good time, he will set up an appointment with you when you call.

Contact Jim