Regenerate a Fifth Generation Farm for Sustainability and Profitability While Revitalizing an Aging Farming Community

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2023: $14,874.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2025
Grant Recipient: Nieder Farms
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Coordinator:
Trisha Nieder
Nieder Farms


  • Animals: bovine, poultry
  • Animal Products: meat


  • Animal Production: grazing management, grazing - rotational, meat processing
  • Education and Training: demonstration, networking, workshop, youth education
  • Production Systems: permaculture

    Proposal summary:

    • Losing formerly vibrant towns and farming communities in Franklin County: 
        • Franklin county farmers are aging with few replacements. Farms are rapidly being sold for development properties. In November 2022 alone, nearly 2,200 acres were for sale (accounting for 10+ acre properties). A once vibrant farming community is quickly declining. 
        • Younger people don’t see the value in farming and preserving farmland. 
        • Fewer local farms means less local food for sale, and fewer dollars being reinvested into the community.
    • Cow/calf farms are not economically sustainable.
        • Rising prices across diesel, corn, and hay make tight profit margins tighter. With repairs and replacements on farm equipment, there’s little funds to invest in growth.
        • Due to a higher volume of cattle from larger, big-name farms at local auctions, live cattle is no longer a viable revenue source for small farmers.
        • Labor intensive operations such as cutting, raking, and baling hay leaves little time to invest in farm growth. Farmers work full-time jobs to pay the bills and keep the farm.
    • Cow/calf farms are not environmentally sustainable:
      • Continuous/overgrazing is stripping soil of key nutrients. Grass is neither nutrient rich, nor diverse. Soil erosion and loss of topsoil is inevitable.

    Project objectives from proposal:


    • Build and strengthen relationships in local farmer community
      1. Partner with local 4H to host five experiential education workshops to inspire new generations of farmers. Invite groups to the farm to teach sustainable (economic and environmental) farm practices first-hand. Currently our 4 H group has business relationships, but no hands-on partnerships with local farms. The Franklin County 4 H group is the largest in Missouri.
      2. Develop a unique print and digital startup guide based on findings and geared to local Missouri cattle farmers. Featuring original illustrations by Trisha it will visually - and very simply - walk farmers through clear steps on how to start/transition to a sustainable cow/calf farm and improve profitability. Resources (experts, organizations) will be included as well.
      3. Support local farmers by becoming an education resource. Partner with local organizations (i.e. Cattleman’s Association, FFA, local farm bureaus and agencies) and others to distribute 300 printed sustainable  startup guides. Provide the guide free online at, and promote it via digital advertising to Missouri cow/calf farmers, exposing local farmers to sustainable practices and giving them the tools to get started. 
    • Use Nieder Farms to teach local farmers - emphasis on cow/calf farmers - how to increase profitability.
      1. Nieder Farms - a fifth generation cattle farm - faces similar economic sustainability issues as other local farms. We will increase profitability among the local farmer community by demonstrating how two changes on cow/calf farms can increase profit margins. We will provide insights, steps, and support so others can do the same.
      2. Nieder Farms will transition to management intensive grazing to increase herd grazing days and save on diesel, hay, and corn costs and cut labor hours. This will result in better profit margins, less labor, and more time for farmers to invest in growth opportunities.
      3. Introduce new enterprises to the cow/calf farm to diversify income streams and stabilize profits. Diversify revenue streams in two ways: introduce poultry (chickens and turkeys) for meat, and plant a fruit orchard for eventual sales. 
    • Use Nieder Farms to demonstrate the value of sustainable farming practices, and the positive impact they have on the environment and farming.
      1. Improve the environment by transitioning Nieder Farms from continuous grazing to management intensive grazing to restore organic topsoil. By effectively using grazing practices, we can fertilize, control grass growth cycles, manage weeds without chemicals, and -  in year two - introduce native grass varieties and clover to diversify grasses, support soil health, and increase nutrients for cattle.
      2. Plant native fruit trees such as pawpaw, cherry, apple, elderberry to help with soil erosion, and begin building a strong foundation for a diverse farm ecosystem.
      3. Introduce pasture raised poultry that play a role in improving the environment through fertilization and pest control. Poultry will be moved via a chicken tractor to fresh grass daily, ensuring ongoing soil support, lower feed costs, and higher quality meat.
      4. Educate the broader community why environmental practices not only produce healthier, nutrient rich beef and poultry but also benefits their local environment.


    • Strengthen relationships among young farming community:
        • Partner with local FFA and 4H for a sustainable farming workshop and experiential education.
        • Create and distribute a startup guide for sustainable farming in Franklin County and Missouri.
        • Become a resource.
    • Diversify production and revenue streams:
        • Reduce costs tied to baling and buying hay by 50%.
        • Reduce labor tied to baling hay by 50%.
        • Raise and process 200 chickens and 50 turkeys.
    • Improve soil quality:
      • Implement management intensive grazing.
      • Plant two varieties of native grasses or clover.
      • Plant at least three varieties of native fruit trees.
      • Utilize poultry to continuously fertilize and control pests.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.