The Bootstrap Blog – featuring viewpoints of farmers in their beginning years of running a farm – is entering its third year with a landslide of enthusiasm. With special thanks to the six farmer-contributors who made 2012 a success, the blog series continues to be a wonderful resource of inspiration and ideas for the next generation of farmers. Read over the entire 2012 blog at the 2012 Bootstrap Blogger Hub.
While in past years the blog has focused more on vegetable growers, the 2013 series will exclusively feature dairy farmers. The goal is to provide a window into what it takes to successfully start up and run a dairy farm in America today. If you are in your first years of running a dairy start-up operation, we might be looking for you to write for the 2013 Bootstrap Blog.
With the generous support of Stonyfield Farm, Profits for the Planet, the non-profit wing of Stonyfield Farm that works to support family farms, sustainable agriculture, and positive environmental practices, 2013 Bootstrap contributors will be compensated for their participation in the project.
The blog series will start in March and three selected bloggers will write eight monthly posts, with each month having a specific focus. While contributors are not expected to be experts in their field (NYFC is a community of beginning farmers and ranchers, after all!), some posts will require significant knowledge of the subject.
Monthly blog topics will be dedicated to the following themes:
- “Why I’m an organic dairy farmer”
- Animals and Breeds
- Equipment and Capital
- Pasture Management
- Marketing and Sales
- “When Things go Wrong”
Bloggers will also be asked to put together a brief “Life on the Farm” video to be hosted on the NYFC website. (A video camera will be provided for the project.)
The Bootstrap Coordinator will work with farmers each month on content and editing before posts are published.
Why Dairy Farmers?
In past years, the Bootstrap series has focused on vegetable growers and mostly farmers’ market and CSA-style operations. Many beginning farmers in the US take this route because it allows the newcomer to enter the field with minimal debt and because it is highly scalable. We know that there is real interest in dairy among young ad beginning farmers, but because dairy tends to be more capital-intensive and requires extensive training, the idea of starting a new operation can be intimidating to many would-be dairy farmers.
The 2013 series would like to break down that wall holding back potential new dairy farmers by exploring the intricacies and obstacles of the field.
How Do I Apply?
To apply, please submit a short (300-500 words) farmer profile (with pictures!) for your operation. This will allow us to learn more about your operation and for you to get a chance to try out writing for us. Typically, farmer profiles include an overview of the type and scale of the operation, a brief history of both it and you, the mission or vision driving you, and some thoughts on future plans. Submit to Wes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The application period for the three blogger positions is currently open. Final decisions will be made in mid-February. If you have any further questions, contact Wes at email@example.com.