Mission, Vision & Staff

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.

MIFarmLink arose out of a need for additional ways to address the the changing demographics of farming and rapidly disappearing farmland. The program aims to help preserve Michigan farms and farming by shepherding 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. 


To protect Michigan farmland and agricultural heritage by connecting farmers seeking land with farmland owners looking to sell, lease or create another type of tenure arrangement.


MIFarmLink plays a vital role in preserving Michigan farming as a lifestyle, industry and land stewardship practice by helping to bridge the divide between farming generations and connecting farmland with its next farmer.

MIFarmLink Staff


Jill Dohner - Washtenaw County

Jill is working with a group of passionate agricultural advocates from across Michigan to grow the MIFarmLink program, an effort started in Ottawa County that helps preserve farmland by connecting agricultural landowners looking to sell/lease land with beginning farmers looking for land to farm.
She graduated from Michigan Technological University with a Master's in Forest Ecology and Management. Jill owns Rustic Roots Farm where she tends honeybees, poultry, goats, a fruit orchard and garden, greenhouse production, and woodworking. Jill has served on the Washtenaw County Conservation District board for 10 years prior and now is a Farm Bureau member in District 3. She has experience in forestry at the Greening of Detroit and ReLeaf Michigan, as well as working with a diversity of farmers through the Washtenaw Farmer Cooperative.

Becky Huttenga

Becky Huttenga - Ottawa County

Becky Huttenga, a lifelong resident of Ottawa County, 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 and 30 credits hours of Masters level graduate study in Animal Science at MSU. While raising her two children, now 24 and 29, Becky developed quite a diverse resume, from nutritional sales at Purina Mills to restaurant management at her family’s Grand Haven business to Program Assistant for Michigan State University Extension’s 4-H program. But her passion for being the bridge between natural resources and agriculture sparked when she became Executive Director at the Ottawa Conservation District in 2011. She then joined Ottawa County in 2015 where she now leads countywide initiatives in farmland protection, agriculture, and economic development. Becky, a Farm Bureau member, serves on the Ottawa Conservation District Board of Directors, Michigan Association of Conservation Districts State Council, West Michigan Agribusiness Talent Council, National Agricultural Land Network Advisory, Careerline Tech Ag Program Advisory, and on numerous planning committees for agricultural outreach events. Her favorite career accomplishments include hosting two radio shows, founding Michigan’s first statewide land linking platform, MIFarmLink.org, and being named one of Mlive’s Women Who Shape the State in 2023. Becky currently resides in the City of Grand Haven. https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebecca-huttenga-7844411b/

Upcoming projects:

Becky is helping Kent County coordinate its first ever Culver’s Share Night to benefit farmland protection and she is also serving as one of two Land Transfer Navigator’s in Michigan, a partnership between American Farmland Trust and USDA-NRCS to help increase the number of farmed acres under a succession and transfer plan.


Click here for the full Strategic Plan here. 

MIFarmLink 2024-2028 Strategic Plan Executive Summary


MIFarmLink, a program of the Washtenaw County Conservation District, aims to keep Michigan farmland in cultivation by connecting farmers seeking land with owners looking to sell, lease, or create tenure arrangements. This strategic plan, developed through workshops and expert consultation, outlines our goals and action items for the next five years.

Vision and Mission:  

Our vision is to preserve Michigan farming as a lifestyle and industry. Our mission is to connect farmers seeking land with farmland owners, ensuring the agricultural heritage of Michigan is maintained.

Strategic Goals

  1. Optimizing mifarmlink.org Online Platform

        -Enhance website functionalities, improve user experience, and maintain up-to-date content.

2. Creating a Long-Term Financial Plan

       -Develop core funding strategies, explore revenue-generating opportunities, and identify potential funders.

  1. Providing Resources and Connections for Farmers

       -Offer land tenure, training connections, and promote diversity through targeted communication.

  1. Building Brand Recognition

       -Cultivate relationships with key stakeholders, develop a marketing plan, and enhance our reputation as Michigan’s farmland matchmaker.

  1. Identifying and Creating Key Partnerships

      -Establish and maintain strategic partnerships with relevant organizations to strengthen our network.

  1. Working to Identify a Statewide Administrative Home

      -Evaluate long-term organizational structure and explore the creation of regional hubs.

  1. Defining Benchmarks for Success

      -Track key metrics such as farm properties listed, connections made, and conservation practices applied.

  1. Establishing Operational Systems

       -Develop legal, communication, and operational guidelines to ensure effective program management.


This strategic plan, a collaborative effort by MIFarmLink staff and Advisory Committee, is designed to guide our work through realistic and attainable goals. It will be reviewed annually.