Well we’ve got the land, we’ve got our ideas and plans and goals, now all we need is the money to put things into action. In order to even get started at the new site of Runamuk Acres, we’re going to have to establish a foundation at the new farm–that means all of the basics that make up a farm. Things like a well and septic system, a house for the farm-family to reside in, a garage-workshop, outbuildings, and most importantly, the two high-tunnels that will be the second half of the Runamuk business, providing Anson and Madison and surrounding communities with a much-needed supplier of quality seedlings for their vegetable gardens.
Our seedling operation won’t stop there, however; I’m most excited about being able to offer native perennial plants for pollinator plantings on farms and residential plots. Pollinator conservation is going to be at the very heart of what we at Runamuk do, with extensive gardens, bee-forage, pollinator wildflower meadows, and bee-hotels This will benefit all of the wildlife at Runamuk, as well as the surrounding area. We want to support and conserve all of the wildlife in our area, and the public will not only be able to come to Runamuk to buy our fantabulous seedlings, or our honey and beeswax products, but also to walk through our gardens and forests to observe and learn more about pollinators and wildlife in this part of Maine.
So–in order to get from where we are now, at our leased location in-town Anson where we’ve operated our micro-farm for the last two years, we need a loan to establish the foundation of Runamuk for the future to come. We learned about a number of different agricultural programs available while we were at the trade show last week, and I’ve wasted no time putting things into action. I’ve arranged to meet with Janet Roderick of the Maine Small Business Development Center in Fairfield. She will go over my attempt at a business plan (I used the internet to research how to do it, and even found a template to use as a guide), help me repair it and fine-tune it to be presentable to investors. This is on Wednesday afternoon; I’ll let you know later how it goes.
I’m waiting on a call from Somerset County’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) loan officer, to set up an appointment with her to apply for a Beginning Farmer’s Loan. This is my first choice in programs, since the FSA does not use actual credit scores, but only your credit history, and has target funds for women farmers. It seems an ideal match for me with my lack of a credit score, having been a stay-at-home and work-at-home mom for the last ten years.
But if they do not accept our proposal it is not the end of the line, the representative from Coastal Enterprises Inc. (CEI) who we met at the trade show seemed really eager to work with us, and their organization does a lot of agricultural loans as well. And if all that fails there’s still the traditional bank-route we can try for our loan prospects.
I’m working on applying for the Value Added Producer Grant offered by USDA’s Rural Development too.
There’s a lot to be done, but we’re going to get where we’re going in the end. Right now it’s just a matter of following the plan, staying the course, and keeping that goal in sight. I’ve got this vision of Runamuk burning in my belly, and I refuse to give up until I’ve created that vision for all to see. Just you wait and see.