Counties of interestFlathead, Glacier, Granite, Lincoln, Mineral, Powell, Ravalli, Sanders
Planned OperationLarge Animal (cattle, sheep, goats), Small Animal (pigs, rabbits, poultry), Dairy, Vegetable, Fruit/Orchard
Check all experience and education that apply to you and your farming partnersInformal apprenticeship, General college degree, General farming (less than 3 years), General farming (over 3 years)
Land TenureBuy/Sell, Lease
Briefly describe your current occupation(s) and responsibilities and list previous agricultural employment and experiences. If you are currently farming or ranching, please state the size, type(s), and location of the operation.Farm apprentice at Foothill Farm, working alongside my husband John. My responsibilities are daily milking the cow(s) before working in the garden which is 12 acres of deer fenced certified organic vegetable production including 3 high tunnels. John works closely with the dairy cows, moving them daily, and working in the garden. We are large seed garlic growers, heirloom tomato and various other crops sold through WMGC. My previous employment was in Western New York working at a farm stand and large sweet corn operation. There I maintained the gardens and transported vegetables from other growers in the area to the farm stand. During the summer of 2020 I worked on an 8 acre organically minded farm in North Carolina, with 400 CSA members provided for weekly. I was a farm apprentice learning under a 20+ year farmer learning everything from seed to selling. The summer of 2019 I worked under Joel Salatin at Polyface Farm, there I met my husband John, a fellow intern. Our main focus as interns was on the poultry operation, raising from 2 day old chicks until slaughter, multiple batches rotationally grazed on pasture. We also learned about pastured pigs, turkeys, cows, sheep and rabbits.
Acreage11-40, 41-100, 101-500
Farming PracticesOrganic, Other
Please elaborate on the type(s) of agricultural operation you plan on running.Our plan is to develop perennial alley crop systems over several years, rotationally graze animals (cows, sheep, pigs, turkeys, geese, and chickens), and contribute to the WMGC through CSA and wholesale vegetables and mushrooms, as well as a farmers market. We're going to utilize fast turnover crops and animals, and dairy to generate cash flow (meat chickens, rabbits, pigs, eggs, vegetables, and mushrooms) while we build our flocks of sheep and herd of cows, and develop the perennials. The perennials will include many cold hardy berries, fruit and nut trees, culinary and medicinal herbs, and cut flowers. Many of the berries and fruit will be sold through U-Pick days, then wholesale/CSA, along with value-added products and the scraps to the animals grazed underneath once the crop has gone beyond harvestability. U-Pick for cut flowers will also be used to increase the amount we're able to sell. We plan on slaughtering as much of our animals on-farm as we're allowed to legally to save on cost and potentially open another income stream as we develop, once we're able to finance the equipment necessary.
Elaborate on the farming practices you plan on using.We plan on implementing keyline water management systems to make the most of every drop of rain and snowfall we get. It is our intention to follow organic practices from the start and work towards a Demeter Biodynamic certification for certain aspects of the farm. To develop fertility and soil health we plan on making as much compost on-site as we can, utilizing low and no-till practices, and long cycle field rotations of cover crop, pasture, and annuals, as well as incorporating many species of animals and growing a majority of native species and families. As part of the Biodynamic practices we'll also be making and utilizing the various compost preparations to further increase the health and vitality of the land.
Please elaborate on the kind of additional training/information that would help you:Information about federal and state tax regulations in regards to purchase of a farm, and the taxes associated with the farm/ranch; special loans and grants for beginning farmers/ranchers as well as navigating the various types of loans and associated pay-off methods; market research as far as where current supply and demand are for the Western Montana market would be highly beneficial for selecting beginning enterprises and crops; tax deferment and mortgage options that provide a more acceptable/lenient pay-off system that coincides with the "boom and bust" periods of income that come with farming/ranching; more information on receiving and maintaining USDA Organic certification.
Please attach any photos that support your application.