Tag Archives: beginning farmers

Meeting at the Somerset County Farm Service Agency

Yesterday morning I had a meeting with Janice Ramirez at the Somerset County USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) regarding my loan application, their requirements, and the process involved in government financing of the Swinging Bridge Farm. I’ve visited them 2 or 3 times before, but the representatives there are always patient and kind; they seem to truly want to help… Read more »

Hesitation over the Swinging Bridge Farm

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sbf the house

After 12 days of agonizing back and forth negotiations with the Seller of the Swinging Bridge Farm, I learned last night that they are hesitant to make a commitment with me at this time. When I received the news last night I was at Johnny’s after hours with a few devout supporters who joined me in painting bee-themed magnets that… Read more »

How is the Cost of Farmland Affecting Beginning Farmers?

farmland

Having spent several years now pouring over real estate listings in search of my own forever farm, I have become painfully aware of the cost of farmland. Farmland prices are rising, and good land for farming is becoming increasingly scarce. This has serious implications for the future of the nation’s farm economy and farm system, but also for America’s agricultural… Read more »

Negotiations

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mushrooms on an apple tree

If you’ve been anxiously awaiting news regarding my bid for the Swinging Bridge Farm, then I am glad for the company. It has been a long week of negotiations and I had hoped to be able to post with cause for celebration, but as of this moment I cannot say if my offer will be accepted by the landowner. The… Read more »

Making an offer

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Swinging Bridge Farm was everything I’d hoped it would be and more. We have decided to make an offer on the old place, in hopes of building the Runamuk Conservation Farm there. On Friday as Paul and I made our way to 619 Middle Road to meet Leah, I couldn’t help feeling that I was being drawn there─like my spirit… Read more »

Meet my real estate agent!

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leah j watkins

A couple of weeks ago this cool thing happened to me where a complete stranger contacted me out of the blue and offered her services as a real estate agent. I was surprised by the unexpected offer and a little caught off guard. Last winter as I began exploring properties once again, I contacted a local realtor to look at… Read more »

Queen-rearing: if at first you don’t succeed…

queen cells

For the first time in my 7 years of beekeeping I am trying my hand at raising my own Queens. I’m excited for what this new skill means for my apiary and now wonder why I didn’t start sooner! We’re at the height of the growing season now and I am out there in the thick of it, loving every… Read more »

The Redneck’s Garden

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the redneck's garden

It’s with a bit of self-debasement that I’ve ruefully dubbed this year’s garden “the Redneck’s Garden.” Having been born and raised in the backwoods of Maine, rarely venturing farther than Augusta─forever in jeans, boots and flannel─arriving at parties with my trusted PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon beer) and preferring a campfire with friends to the crowded club─I am quite nearly the… Read more »

Making the most of it as a land-less farmer

spring hives 2017

One of the great things about beekeeping is that I can do it from anywhere. Everyone wants beehives on their property, especially if someone else is going to do the work and all the land-owner has to do is sit back and enjoy the bees. I’ve had so many offers for apiary locations that I’ve lost count. Even if I… Read more »

5 Reasons To Raise Chickens

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Chickens are often the first livestock to be added to a homestead and have been laughingly referred to as the gateway livestock. However the benefits of adding a flock of chickens to your backyard, homestead, or beginning farm, are no laughing matter. Chickens bring some serious good ju-ju with them and open the door to a number of opportunities for… Read more »