We have decided to sell our farm. Eeek! That sounds scary, right?! At least to us, it does…
To be clear – we’re not calling it quits on farming and most of our customers won’t actually be affected by our move. We are eyeing a property north of our current location, but will continue to service all the areas we currently do – primarily Grand Rapids, Cannonsburg, and Lowell/Saranac.
We have been feeling the pressure of not having enough land for well over a year and Dan was the first to feel the pinch. I was absolutely against moving until about October and then started to entertain the idea. Honestly, once we found out we were expecting again, the thought disappeared from our minds…until about 4 weeks ago when Dan found a listing for a property we could both envision moving to.
Still, we both love living in Lowell. We love our friends and community. And we both love the little farm and farmhouse that we’ve poured our hearts, time, energy and money into renovating.
All those things made this decision incredibly difficult for us. We wavered a lot but eventually it came down to economics. The reality is that we have managed to carve a full-time living from a hobby farm. Pursuing livestock on a production scale on just 10 available acres has been an achievement but not without its stress. As our business grows, the pressure to use every square inch of our land increases and there is increasingly less forgiveness, even in seasons with perfect weather.
Hay and grain prices are incredibly low at the moment, which has kept us viable, but when those prices increase (and they will), our survival becomes more difficult. Our inability to control our hay production and cost, combined with our limits in expanding our business ended up being the key factors in our decision.
Having a farm with more land means we can make our own hay, reducing costs by tens of thousands each year. We can also keep all the calves born on the farm (at least 5-8 per year) to finish for beef, ensuring we’re receiving the top dollar we can for the food we produce, and diversifying our income streams.
More land also means dedicated pig pastures without stressing about taking away from dairy or beef production, and more forgiveness and opportunity in our grazing strategies. And open, flat pastures mean we can more easily move chickens for egg and meat production. We love, love, love our little farm but it is really a hobby farm or homestead.
We didn’t come to this decision lightly because 1) it’s a giant pain to a move a farm, especially with lactating animals, 2) we like living in Lowell, and 3) we have another baby on the way mid-summer.
But, we feel that if moving is the right choice for our family and business then we have to do it now so we have time to settle in before summer when that freight train called a third child comes into our lives.
For me, the most difficult part of these conversations was that our intention in buying our farm 4 years ago was that it would be our forever farm. We never entertained the thought that we would maximize our land to the point of needing more. And, really, we didn’t fully know if we could support our family farming full-time.
In many ways, needing to move is an accomplishment for us. A huge milestone that we never thought we would see. The emotional block of knowing that we poured so much of our blood, sweat and tears into making this a viable farm once again, only to walk away and restart in a lot of ways…it seemed crazy to us. But, it also seems like the best way to ensure we’ll still be in business in the years to come.
SO, if you (or someone you know) is interested in an amazing hobby farm in Lowell, our listing is below. As I’ve said, we love this community and farm so much. It is absolutely perfect for anyone looking to hobby farm or homestead – you can do pretty much anything here from gardening to raising backyard chickens, to producing some grassfed beef or pastured pork for your freezer…maybe even a family milk goat or keeping some bees? We’ve fenced the entire property, added a new steel barn roof to the hay barn, updated electrical and water to many buildings, put in a few fruit trees, and updated a ton in the house. It’s truly been a labor of love for us!
Many thanks to you all for your continued support and business while we make this transition!
-Dan, Whit, Cecilia, Beau & Baby