Archive for January, 2014

The drought hitting California is forcing ranchers to make the difficult decision between attempting to keep their livestock or selling as much as half of their herd. There is simply not enough grass to feed the livestock. To understand how devastating this drought has been, from September to the end of December only 40 pounds of grass was grown per acre.
 
The usual? 500 pounds per acre.

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Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden recently took to the USDA blog to talk about her experience at the National Farmers Union Women’s Conference in Florida. She discusses how their challenges have inspired her to carry out her own work as as Deputy Secretary and how the actions we take today will impact farmers and ranchers decades from now.

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Paul Greive, a former officer in the Marine Corps, began Primal Pastures with his brothers-in-law Rob and Jeff and Father in Law Tom in 2012. As a collegiate athlete Greive suffered from arthritis and learned about Crossfit and Paleolithic diet during the Marine Corps. Having a difficult time sourcing high quality proteins locally, the family purchased 50 chickens with the intent to raise them on pasture.
 
Growth was quick and explosive, and they quickly sold out their initial flock.

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Former Marine Robert Elliot had been laid off in 2011 due to budget cuts at the Department of Defense. After deciding a mechanical aeronautical engineering degree wasn’t for him he decided to pursue farming at his old family farm.
 
Elliot read Joel Salatin’s book, “Pastured Poultry Profit$” and it clicked. He would raise organic poultry.
 
He did more research, went to the right seminars, and got certified to sell his home-grown products.

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Adam Burke, a farmer-veteran himself, began Veteran’s Farm in 2009 to offer soldiers opportunities for growth and transition. To date the Farm has helped about 30 struggling combat veterans rebuild their lives, using farming as a therapeutic tool for recovery. The soldiers grow crops ranging from peppers to blueberries, work with livestock, and even take on duties such as writing business plans.
 
Watch Yahoo’s video and read their story here.

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ARCHIVES
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    Our own Michele Pfannenstiel, President FVC Maine, made a visit to Dick Royer's Farm last week. While there she was able to snap a few pictures of him and his wife.  Earlier in the month we were able to connect him with with Chet Bennetts, Director of Farm Development, to assist in business planning for his farm.

     

    "I just received the one page business plan from Chet. He told me he was sending it to me what I thought was a form or a sheet of paper to fill out turns out to be a 90+ page workbook and a cd! Wow I am so glad to have found you guys! I finally think I maybe on the right path to getting my farm on a good footing. Thank you so so much for your help..." 

    - Dick Royer

     

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  • Mar 18th, 2014
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    Frederick “Fred” John Fleming, whose namesake includes both sets of great-grandfathers, is now entering the latest chapter in his lucrative agribusiness career: the hand-off to the next generation. Fred is ready to train and assist someone in taking over his 32-year old seed company, Reardan Seed Co., Inc. located in the state of Washington. The succession will not be following lineage lines.

     

    The two Fleming adult children, now in successful professions other than farming (healthcare and education), are not interested in any of the four agribusinesses Fred and his wife, Vicki, manage: the Lazy Y J Farms (est. 1888); Shepherd’s Grain; the Reardan Seed Co., Inc.; and their latest start-up, Rhizoterra, Inc., a soil preparation company.

     

    Fred, always a forward-thinker, is a step-ahead of the farming crisis: a third of US farmers are older than 65 and retiring. His plan of action is to reach out now and make an investment with an individual who is interested in agriculture. Fred has already proven successful at integrating a non-family member into the management of the Lazy Y L Farms business. Now the Fleming’s are reaching out to Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) in their search for a hard-working individual to manage and, eventually, over time own Reardon Seed.

     

    Why FVC? Fred says it best: “I’m a veteran, as were both my parents, and I know that a veteran will have the necessary drive to work hard.” A hardworking individual isn’t all Fred is looking for because the right fit for Reardan Seed also includes a background and strong interest in agriculture, not necessarily farming, but perhaps experience in life sciences or agronomy.

     

    If you’re interested in making a lifelong commitment to building an already successful ag-related business and have fun doing it, then you want to talk to Fred. He can be reached at: fredjf2@aol.com.

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  • Feb 28th, 2014
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    FVC Iowa, Ed Cox, and the great work they're doing with farmer-veterans like Aaron White was recently featured by local news station KCCI in Des Moines.

     

    Check out FVC Iowa at http://iowafarmerveteran.org/ and if you're in the mid-west be sure check their calendar for workshops.

     

    Click here to watch the story.

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  • Jan 29th, 2014