Picture a farmer. Is this person you imagined a little older? That’s not surprising. Almost a third of farmers in Michigan are over age 65. Less than 10% are under 35. 

In the 21st century, few choose farming as their livelihood. It’s hard enough for a daughter or son to take over for aging parents; it’s exponentially harder for someone without a farming background to break into the business. The good news is there’s a slew of resources available to help those who want to farm.

Enter MiFarmLink Project, which aims to help shepherd prime farmland from its current stewards into the hands of the next generation, and help these new farmers fill this vital role and be successful. 

Our Partners

The MiFarmLink Project is a project that was spearheaded by a USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Grant administered collaboratively by Washtenaw County Conservation District and Ottawa County. The project partners listed below have made a commitment of time and resources to help address some of the factors affecting the transition of farmers out of the industry and the land to new farmers. If you are interested in being a part of this project, email us at hello@mifarmlink.org.

  • Becky Huttenga | Ottawa County

    Economic Development Coordinator

    Becky Huttenga

    Ottawa County

    Economic Development Coordinator

    A lifelong resident of Ottawa County, Becky grew up as a 4-H kid on a 24-acre hobby farm in Spring Lake Township before heading off to Michigan State University where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Animal Science.  
    After college, she developed a diverse resume, including nutritional sales at Purina Mills and Program Assistant for MSUE’s 4-H program. In 2011, she became Executive Director at the Ottawa Conservation District, which set her on the path of bridging the worlds of natural resources and agriculture. She continues this vital work today leading Ottawa County's brownfield redevelopment and farmland protection initiatives. 
    Becky is a Farm Bureau member, currently serving on the Promotion and Education Committee. She currently resides in the City of Grand Haven. In her free time she enjoys volunteering at local festivals, fostering rescued puppies, watching Spartan basketball, reading, and playing league soccer. 

  • Sam Stokes | Washtenaw County Conservation District

    MiFarmLink Coordinator

    Sam Stokes

    Washtenaw County Conservation District

    MiFarmLink Coordinator

    Sam grew up on a hobby farm in Washtenaw County raising and showing dairy goats in 4-H, club and national shows. Sam left agriculture and moved North to get a BSc in Wildlife Ecology and Management from Michigan Tech University before returning to get an MS in Environmental Justice from the University of Michigan. After returning to Washtenaw County, a slew of serendipitous events brought Sam back to her passion for agriculture and inspired her to leave academia and join the WCCD in supporting farmers in their stewardship of Michigan lands and communities. When not in the WCCD office, Sam can be found in the barn with the goats, volunteering with her local 4H club or helping local small-ruminant producers keep their herds healthy and productive.