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Help Keep Small Farms in Business

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The federal rules and regulations regarding organic farming are constantly changing;  offering breaks and benefits to large scale ag-businesses and creating a divide and to many, an end to small family farms dispersed across our country.   The latest being the flooding of organic milk across the countryside from 5000  plus cow dairies popping up after the USDA decided not to accept the pasture ruling for grazing.  

Flooding the market with milk $10-$15/100cwt less than what organic dairy farmers have been getting paid.  

While that is happening, Nezinscot Farm, along with the remaining small family farms are forced to be creative in working with the resources available to us in order to stay in business.  

From the beginning, 1994, based on our size and resources, we have always known that diversification would and is the key in moving forward in this industry. We remain foolishly optimistic in our endeavors to move forward with our farm plan of not only success through diversification, but more importantly self-sufficiency of a farm-based business utilizing the resources available at and on the farm.

This year, with that optimism, we have decided to take our farm yet to another level.  One that would allow us to finally reach the goal of being able to produce all the feed required to take care of our animals without having to purchase from away.   We have been given the opportunity to save a farm we have been leasing for the past 10 years from development by having a chance to purchase it from the heirs of the former owner.  We feel compelled to making this happen even during a time when things are extremely tight.  We have weighed out the pros and cons and truly believe that saving another 500 acres in order to save the idea of  "We need both small and large farms in this country in order to meet everyone's needs" is worthwhile.
It is a situation we have thought long and hard about.  Having discussions with our children, most still too young to commit, but eager to participate, learn and support in ways that most can't and or don't want to;  as well as to several business-related mentors and elders.

For those just learning about us, but wanting to support this project, buying a farm that is ready to be certified organic, which is what we need in order to be able to continue to have our certification, is rare in our area due to development as well as larger non-organic farmer pressures.   Land must be clear of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides for a minimum of 3 years.  Having farmed this land for the past 10 years lessens that transition and allows us to begin moving forward with a bit more confidence.   This farm has offered us pasture for 100 heifers every summer along with 75 acres of hay land for crops.  This acquisition would  allow us the ability to expand the farms capability of growing the grains needed to supplement the animals as well as create a space for diversification of a farm stand in an underserved and growing area; further allowing us to expand our market of  existing food   products  (cheese, bread, meats, vegetables, canned goods, yarns) from our existing farm in Turner to another site 15 miles away.   

With the growing desire of consumers wanting to trust and know more about where their food comes from, there is no better way to do and offer that than offering a farm that allows for the ability to visit, walk about, tour, meet the farmers, ask questions, learn, taste, and reap the benefits from all of it, then here.  

The funds raised will help with closing fees,  but mostly to help build and repair an outbuilding for the retail farm stand at the new farm so that we may be able to open early this spring.  This will include a walk-in cooler to display our cheeses, dairy and produce and a chest freezer for our meats.  

The funds will also help improve existing infrastructure at the main farm for customers and community members to have better and safer access with their kids and friends to visiting the animals at the farm; offering a more hands-on approach.  

We are asking for funds to available by the end of March.  

Besides our farms personally benefiting from this opportunity by having assistance in getting a project done sooner rather than later,  we feel that the community at large will be benefiting the most.  The only way we could have purchased this farm was through the sale of our development rights on our farm.  By working with Maine Farm Land Trust , we have pledged to always have our farms as forever farms; securing the future for open land for food in our neighborhoods for the next generations to come while preventing the encroachment of development pressures in a heavily trafficked area.

 Your help would send the message that there are truly people on board out there listening and caring about where our food comes from, the importance of farm businesses in rural communities as well as encouraging the growth of this industry.

We choose to farm because we care about making sure all of you are taken care of in times of need; we simply don't always have the cash flow readily available to us like many other established businesses.

Whether helping or not, please come and visit us at our farm and or check out our website to learn more and watch a video of who we are and what we do.


Gloria Varney
Turner, ME

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