Our 2016 bloggers: Farming in the arid West

Young farmers and ranchers in the arid West contend with all of the challenges faced by farmers in other regions—high land prices, access to capital, and often student loan debt—but they also face an additional barrier: water access. In many parts of the country, all farmers have to do to “access” water is turn to the sky, but in the arid West, farmers and ranchers often depend on irrigation water from rivers, ditches and other bodies of water... Read More

I farm like I cook, always learning as I go

By Maggie Bowling, Old Homeplace Farm One of my absolute favorite pastimes is cooking. I recently realized that one of the reasons I like spending time in the kitchen is the continual experimentation and learning, as well as the satisfaction when I finally get a certain dish “just right.” I have become a much better cook than I was in my college days, and I often tell Will that my goal is to be an exceptional cook by the time I’m an older... Read More

Looking back at our whirlwind first season

By Caitlin Arnold, Furrow Horse Farm  As we head into our second year as a farm, I am amazed at what we accomplished in just one short year. I remember back to our first few weeks on the farm, when our main field was just a cow pasture; we had yet to put up a deer fence, hoophouse, or wash station; and were thick in the process of starting up a business. When we got started in January 2015, I was often overwhelmed by the amount of work we needed... Read More

The greatest crop I’ve ever grown

By Derek Emadi, Emadi Acres The winter in south Texas isn’t a time to take off or slow down. Thanks to a mild winter, we are lucky enough to grow all 12 months of the year. Take that, California! Our winter is pretty much like what I think the rest of the country experiences during spring. Thanks to the mild weather, farmers aren’t the only people in south Texas who grow food. More and more I meet people at the market who come up to my table... Read More

Here’s what I need you to know about farming

By Maggie Bowling, Old Homeplace Farm As I begin my third year as a farmer, I find most of my thoughts divided between two major categories: farming is really hard, and farming is really rewarding. But it might help if I break those ideas down a little more. Here are the top five things I want you to know about being a farmer: 1) Local food advocates often tell people to get to know their farmer, but it is really nice for farmers to know their customers... Read More

Funding our farm: loans, grants, and a gamble

By Caitlin Arnold, Furrow Horse Farm  When Brandon and I decided to start Furrow Horse Farm last January, we knew we were about to spend a lot of money. We were moving onto leased land that had no infrastructure, and we needed to build hoop houses and put up a deer fence. Since we had both been working for other farmers in the years after graduating from college, we didn’t have very much money saved, nor did we have inheritances or farmland... Read More

A day in my life: 15 miles and one noisy cat

By Derek Emadi, Emadi Acres A day in the life of this farmer can vary, but since I began farming full time, I wake up in a great mood. I can usually get a few giggles and smiles out of my pre-coffee, drowsy wife, a feat in its own right, I assure you. But I digress. I understand fully how blessed I am to live the way I was meant to, which undoubtedly correlates to my happiness as a human and as a steward of planet earth. It doesn’t matter... Read More

Building a business plan that fit our community

By Maggie Bowling, Old Homeplace Farm When coming up with our business plan, we put a lot of thought into what would work best in our community. While most of the country is a decade or more into the local food movement, it is just beginning to take hold here in eastern Kentucky. Two of the most common direct-marketing strategies—farmers’ markets and CSAs—didn’t feel right for our community or our farm. When we were first making a marketing... Read More

So You Want to Be a Farmer? First, know this….

By Caitlin Arnold, Furrow Horse Farm  You want to be a farmer? That’s great news because we need a lot more farmers! But there are some things you should know before diving in: 1) Farming is really, really hard. (Let me stress that one more time….) Seriously. The hardest work I’ve ever done. You will work longer days then you ever have and take less time off then ever before. You will be perennially sore and exhausted. You will... Read More

Nine months, 20 chickens, and $300: BOOTSTRAP AT EMADI ACRES FARM

By Derek Emadi, Emadi Acres Moving from a decent paying job to a job that reduces your income to below the poverty level is scary! But once you’re at the bottom, you know there is only one way to go. I conceded to my wife before I quit my teaching job that she would be the breadwinner for many years to come. It doesn’t bother me in the least bit, and she is completely cool with it. Man, am I lucky! If I had a chance to do college all... Read More

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