Meet Sarah

Farm and Professional Life

Sarah Lloyd farms with her husband Nels Nelson and his family on the 400-cow Nelson dairy farm outside of Wisconsin Dells, WI in Columbia County. Sarah works off-farm for the Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU) and the Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative. In these positions she works with farmers on building their farm enterprises and gaining access to better markets for their products. This work also involves grassroots policy development regarding agriculture, food systems, and rural community. She also works on solar initiatives for WFU, helping farmers and rural residents learn about opportunities for solar. Sarah is the Secretary of the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative. 


Sarah was appointed in 2013 by US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to represent the dairy farmers of Wisconsin on the National Dairy Board. She also served from 2008 to 2014 in an elected position on the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. Sarah served on the Columbia County Board of Supervisors from 2004 to 2007. Sarah is a member of the Advisory Board for the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point College of Natural Resources and the Citizens Advisory Committee for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems. Sarah is the President of the Columbia County Farmers Union. She also serves as Treasurer of Board of the Wormfarm Institute, a Reedsburg, WI organization that works at the intersection of culture and agriculture, featured in the annual Fermentation Fest and Farm/Art Dtour.

Education and Teaching

Sarah has a PhD in Rural Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and teaches the Rural Social and Economic Issues course in the UW Farm Industry Short Course, covering social, economic, and ecological issues of agriculture. Her dissertation and doctoral research examined structures and framings of agricultural sustainability in rural community. Sarah has a Masters in Rural Development from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and a BA in Environmental Studies from Brown University. Sarah worked on sustainable forest management issues in Russia, Sweden, and Finland in the 1990s, living for a number of years in both Sweden and Finland and working on the ground in Russia.