Farm Family

Nelson family L to R: Olivia, Ryan, Desiree and Cooper with their livestock guard dog named Honey. 


Nelson Grass Farm is this year’s Kanabec County Farm Family of the Year. The farm is located in Arthur Township east of Ogilvie. In 2020 they are raising 500 laying hens, 2,000 broilers and 30 pigs on pasture. Each animal group is moved regularly on pasture. They also have two livestock guardian dogs to help protect their livestock.

In 2011, Ryan and Desiree Nelson purchased the 76-acre farm near Ogilvie. In 2012, as Nelson Grass Farm, they raised their first batch of broilers, laying hens and pigs rotating on pasture in mobile shelters. They direct market their pasture raised meat and eggs to consumers.

The Nelsons run the farm and all of the tasks that come along with a small business. Ryan is the master builder and the business guru for the farm, while Desiree maintains records, takes orders and does weekly deliveries. Both manage the day to day chores and animal rotations. Their children, Olivia and Cooper, are learning life lessons on the farm including helping to load animals for processing among other tasks that require additional hands.

The couple have been members of the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota where Ryan is a board member in the East Central Chapter. They are also members of the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association and enrolled in the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program. Both Olivia and Cooper are involved in Kanabec County 4-H.

The Minnesota Farm Family recognition program is sponsored by the University of Minnesota Extension; the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and the Minnesota Agriculture Experiment Station along with Farmfest. 

Minnesota county farm families are usually honored each August at Farmfest near Redwood Falls, Minnesota. This year, Farmfest has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, the 2020 farm families will be recognized at Farmfest in 2021. Locally, the Nelson family plans to be in the Back-to-the-Tower parade in Ogilvie on Aug. 8. They will also be recognized at the 2021 Kanabec County Fair.

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