Dirt Rich

35: Pastured Pork & an Incubator Farm

August 4, 2021

“What else is livestock farming but sort of a dance and a balance between farmer happiness, livestock happiness, and soil health happiness?”

Dayna Burtness discusses her “pastured pig-centric farm,” marketing enterprise, and incubator farm near Spring Grove, in the Driftless region of Minnesota. Dayna is the sixth generation in her family to farm in Houston County, and she and her husband Nick Nguyen are finishing 75 mixed breed heritage pigs on pasture this season. They utilize a wagon wheel hub model and are constantly experimenting to improve soil health, pit happiness and health, and farmer happiness and health. 

In her conversation with Jared Luhman, Dayna shares how her production system has evolved over time, her focus on soil health, her intentionality in the incubator farm, and her philosophy on marketing, pricing, and running a farm business. She also offers sage advice to those pursuing similar ventures, and plenty of examples of ‘failed’ and successful on-farm experiments.


Jared Luhman, SFA Soil Health Lead

Dayna Burtness, Nettle Valley Farm


Additional Resources:

Soil Health Case Studies Vol. 3, featuring Nettle Valley Farm

“Building Profitable Farms through Direct Marketing” webinar video

The viewpoints of the speakers expressed within or outside of this episode do not necessarily reflect the goals and mission of SFA.

Dirt Rich is produced by the Sustainable Farming Association.

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