Ashley McFarland

Executive Director/Vice President


Ashley McFarland joined Dovetail Partners in 2019 as Executive Director bringing expertise in water resources, agronomic research, and program management. She received her B.A. from Central College in Pella, Iowa in Political Science and Environmental Studies and earned her M.S. from Iowa State University in Environmental Science-Water Resources. She has nearly 15 years of extension experience across multiple states, so she understands first-hand the importance of delivering research to support informed decision-making. 


Most recently, Ashley served as the Director of the Michigan State University Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center (UPREC) where she managed a diverse research portfolio spanning multiple agricultural sectors. That work included research on integrated crop and livestock production, educational programming on enhancing food security through new farmer development, and the utilization of regenerative agriculture practices throughout the operation.  Another exciting initiative she became involved in was the re-establishment of malting barley as a viable crop in Michigan to support the burgeoning local craft beer industry.


McFarland also served as the northern Idaho water quality extension educator for University of Idaho Extension where she actively participated in multi-disciplinary watershed projects seeking to restore watershed health and function. She established a voluntary water quality monitoring program and supported Logger Education to Advance Professionalism (LEAP), a forestry certification program in Idaho stressing the importance of forestry best management practices to sustain water quality.


McFarland’s greatest passion lies at the intersection of farmers and conservation. Her earliest agricultural roots stem from her upbringing on a dairy farm in northeast Iowa. Those experiences shaped her desire to support farmers in a way that balances on-farm productivity, profitability, and sustainability of our natural resources. McFarland is based out of Duluth, MN where she resides with her husband and two children. When she’s not working, you can typically find Ashley with her family either out in the woods or on the water.