Young farmer winner navigates ownership & new opportunities


Young farmer winner navigates ownership & new opportunities

A Huron County young farmer is planning her next farm addition inspired by growing demand for local food.

“We’re hoping to sell food with a story.”

Before she turned thirty, Ashley Kennedy and her husband Eric took the first major step in transitioning the family’s dairy farm from her parents by buying the livestock on their 240-cow robotic dairy.

“The last five years have been anything but easy and so there’s been a lot of growth,” she says.

Kennedy was recently named Michigan Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer Achievement Award winner for her business achievements and credits chronic communication as key for their succession plan along with letting go of small things.

“Right in the middle of ours, milk prices really tanked, and we had to deal with that, we had to alter and change our plan,” she explains.  “In the end, so far it seems to be working really well.”

The pandemic is now fueling their desire to diversify revenue streams and sell locally to consumers from the farm.

“Currently we’re working on opening a farm shop where we’re going to be marketing direct to consumers freezer beef in any size quantity that they want,” she shares.

Kennedy is in the process of the second stage of transitioning the farm, buying facilities and land, saying Farm Service Agency beginning farmer and rancher loans as well as farm business analysis with Michigan State University and GreenStone Farm Credit Services has been instrumental in their progress.