How to Use the Case Studies

You may have already discovered that “cookie cutter” approaches don’t work well in farming. There is no formula or tool for getting you from A to Z; what works on one farm or for one farmer may not work for another. A given approach may not even work for the same farmer from one year to the next. These case studies use the examples of other beginning farmers to step you through the diverse topics you need to consider before starting or transitioning your own enterprise.

We recommend that you read through the case studies once from beginning to end, then use them as reference documents and revisit appropriate sections as needed. Although PDF versions are provided, reading the case studies online is optimal due to the number of external resources to which they are linked. The case studies have also been laid out with as many internal links as possible to help you navigate the information and find resources that are relevant in multiple locations.

Resources are provided as links within the text and in various sidebars called “Educator’s Perspective: Resource Tips” or “Farmer’s Perspective: On the Bookshelf.” Other sidebars called “At A Glance” and “Farmer’s Perspective: Lessons Learned” provide supplemental details and insight. The emphasis is on resources available in Minnesota, but many of them are relevant elsewhere.