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Old 11-06-2009, 04:57 AM
 
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Without question agriculture in Waldo County is changing. In years past the dairy farmers have dominated the agricultural world here and if you were like me and raised non-traditional products such as sheep, goats or did organic vegetables you did not get much recognition.

This year though it was unanimous that the Waldo County Soil and Water Conservation District decided that the Producer of the Year would be Josh & Ning Oxley, Rolling Acres Farm in Monroe. They are a certified organic operation, have a CSA and were pivotal in the Monroe Farmers Market.

This was a first for this county, and I think it would be a terrible shame to acknowledge these hard working, non-traditional farmers and yet have a lousy turnout. On Tuesday November 17th at 6:30 PM the Waldo County SWCD is having a banquet for them at the Harvest Moon Grange in Freedom. If you support organic and local agriculture I hope many of you can come out because this is really important.

A few of us have been really trying to change Waldo County Agriculture to included non-traditional products. I think in the future this is what will allow agriculture here to thrive. The farms are getting smaller, but Maine has the highest start up farms in the nation, and the youngest age of farmers. Since the State Conservationist of the NRCS will be there, this is a good way to show him that organic and non-traditional farming interest is here, and that funding should be granted. It will also give you an opportunity to meet some of these conservation planners and discuss farming on all levels.

I'm just getting nervous. A couple of us have really made strides in Waldo County for making the small, start-up and non-traditional farmer recognized as a viable agriculture option, but I'm not sure anyone will show up and show the powers that be, that this is an important aspect to farming. And don't let the fact that you are from another county deter you, the District Conservationist takes care of 5 counties,and the State Conservationist covers the entire state and will talk about his interesting agricultural life. If nothing else I will be there. (LOL)

In any case, call Kym Sanderson if you have any questions.

207 338 1964-extension #3
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Old 11-06-2009, 05:13 AM
 
Location: Maine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenTap View Post
This year though it was unanimous that the Waldo County Soil and Water Conservation District decided that the Producer of the Year would be Josh & Ning Oxley, Rolling Acres Farm in Monroe. They are a certified organic operation, have a CSA and were pivotal in the Monroe Farmers Market.
Is it alright to copy and paste all of your message to send to the members of Washington County Food Alliance? I doubt anyone can make it because of the distance but I know they're interested in hearing things like this.
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Old 11-06-2009, 05:21 AM
 
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Sure!
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Old 11-06-2009, 07:07 AM
 
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Good luck Broken Tap! It's a long drive from Freeport but my sentiments are with you. Maine needs it's small farmers now more than ever.
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Old 11-30-2009, 08:12 AM
 
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Broken Tap,

I am looking into buying some property in the Winterport, ME area to start my farm. I'd like to fill a product/produce niche that isn't already overcrowded in the area. Any suggestions??

Thanks!
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Old 12-07-2009, 05:46 AM
 
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Broken Tap,

I am looking into buying some property in the Winterport, ME area to start my farm. I'd like to fill a product/produce niche that isn't already overcrowded in the area. Any suggestions??

Thanks!
Ummm not really sure. I do know that in Monroe there are lots of small organic and produce farms. The Producer of the Year for 2009 in Waldo County was from there. I also know there is some grass fed sheep and beef in that area as well, but being close to Bangor does not mean it is a saturated market there per se. As it stands today, running at full capacity Waldo County can only provide 20% of its food needs so there is potential for more farms.

I will say, I could raise 1500 head of sheep and never run out of customers, but livestock presents its own set of problems...and the reason why people grow veggies and not animals.
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Old 12-07-2009, 05:56 AM
 
Location: Maine
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I will say, I could raise 1500 head of sheep and never run out of customers, but livestock presents its own set of problems...and the reason why people grow veggies and not animals.
It's too bad there isn't a bullsh*t smiley.
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Old 12-07-2009, 09:22 AM
 
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It is the truth. I get calls all the time for lamb. With the ethnic market what it is, the Middle Eastern people entering Lewiston who have lamb as a staple of their diet, it is true.

The sad reality is, the USDA does not consider sheep farming to be a "major market" but that is based on a decades old data. Right now 50% of the lamb in the United States is imported in because we can not come close to meeting demand. This is ironic because right now the high subsidized dairy farmers...as much as they/me hate to admit this, have a huge glutton of milk on the market. And it was the sheep of the 1830's - 1850's that created all the rock walls we see today and the vast woolen mills along our rivers. Make no mistake, sheep had a huge impact on Maine 180 years ago.

One guy point blank asked me if he should get into sheep after seeing all mine graze. I shrugged my shoulders...it is a free country and anyone can get into raising anything. If people feel they can raise sheep better then myself and do so for a lower price, then they really should try it. Its not easy, and I know I will never be rich, but to be able to say I could raise 1500 sheep and market them...definitely.

Declining sheep farms in the USA, plus increasing demand from nationalities that have lamb in their diets, equals increased sales potential.
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Old 12-07-2009, 09:58 AM
 
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I like lamb stew but no one else in the house will eat it. Sorry I can't help....I don't knit either.
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenTap View Post
... One guy point blank asked me if he should get into sheep after seeing all mine graze. I shrugged my shoulders ... it is a free country and anyone can get into raising anything. If people feel they can raise sheep better then myself and do so for a lower price, then they really should try it. Its not easy, and I know I will never be rich, but to be able to say I could raise 1500 sheep and market them...definitely.

Declining sheep farms in the USA, plus increasing demand from nationalities that have lamb in their diets, equals increased sales potential.
If they do try sheep, and go bankrupt, you might be able to buy their sheep operation at good price, and expand your operation.

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