Yesterday I received word from my FSA agent that my loan request has been approved. It shouldn’t have been in question, but until I had that Approval letter in my hand I just couldn’t breathe easy. I was approved the first time around─when I applied for financing to purchase the Swinging Bridge Farm; but what if I didn’t get it the second time around? What if that was my one and only shot?
I am so relieved to be able to say that my numbers and business plan are solid enough to qualify again─this time for the purchase of the Hive House.
Nathan Persinger, my FSA agent, has been really great throughout this entire ordeal. When I first spoke with him back in October he told me he was there to act as my liaison to the Farm Service Agency, to guide me through their monumental loan process, and that he wanted to see my dream of farm-ownership come true.
I’m sure it was as hard for him to give me the news on the fate of the Swinging Bridge Farm as it was for me to hear it; we’d both worked hard on it. When I told him I was going to go after another property instead, he promised to do everything in his power to speed this second round along for me and he meant it! Compared to the length of time it took the first time around, my loan request is fairly flying through the FSA this second time─check it out!
It’s not over yet though. The FSA requires an appraisal to ensure the value of the property, and I’ve already been informed that appraisors are booked into May. Then my lawyer will perform a title search, and finally they’ll schedule a date for Closing. If the Swinging Bridge Farm has taught me anything, it’s that nothing is certain until you’ve signed that contract at Closing.
Once the appraisal is done everything happens pretty quickly, so I expect we’ll be moving late May or early June─in the middle of both planting season and swarm season lol. Go big or go home, right?
These last few weeks of uncertainty have left this farmer feeling somewhat suspended in animation. All around me my farming comrades have started their seasons─sowing seeds and nurturing tender little seedlings in their homes or heated high tunnels. With a potential move on the horizon and currently cramped living quarters, I’ve decided not to start seeds this year and without those bright green plant-babies I feel much less the farmer.
It’s difficult to plan for a farm season if you’re not sure whether or not you have a place to farm, and continuing as a landless farmer is no longer an option: I need a home─for my kids, for me, and for Runamuk to continue to grow.
At the same time, in the event that this actually happens I want the transition to the new farm to go as smoothly as possible. I need to ensure that Runamuk hits the ground running─I’ll have a mortgage to pay afterall. So I’ve been making soap and ordering equipment for the apiary─Queen-rearing supplies mostly, though I invested in a number of candle molds; I’ve decided it’s time to add handmade beeswax candles to my product line.
Next week I have a meeting with the members of the Gardiner Farmers’ Market where I’m applying as a honey-vendor. This will be our second market and it’s a pretty big deal for Runamuk. I have to admit I’m a little nervous about it; I’ve never actually applied with a market before, since Runamuk was a founding member of the Madison market. Gardiner was eager to have me though, and I work with 2 of their vendors at Johnny’s, so I expect it will go smoothly.
At this point there’s no reason to think this sale won’t go through. I’ve covered my bases, had the house inspected before we got too far along this time, and my realtor, Leah Watkins, believes that these Sellers are not asking too much for what I’m getting so the Hive House should appraise at or above the $179.9K I’ve offered for it. Hooray for being approved! (again!)
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