Shona Sanford-Long

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Farming Status and Plans

Description of farming status, plans, and practices:

I’m currently farming full time, managing livestock on my family’s diversified organic farm in Vermont. I’ve been looking at growing the scale of the livestock side of my family’s farm, but due in part to career opportunities for my husband I’m looking for land close to nyc.  If possible I would still like to stay connected in some way to my family’s farm, but am in the process of figuring out what that would look like.  For me, livestock farming is equally about building land and soil and raising the livestock itself. To that end, I plan to use organic practices, intensive rotational grazing, and silvopasture to contribute to animal and land health. Beef cattle would be the primary focus, at least initially, but I am looking for land where I’d have the freedom to raise a diversity of livestock in the long run. Producing healthy, delicious food is also an important part of farming to me, and eventually I hope to be butchering my own meat (I have experience with butchering) either on farm or renting space somewhere else. I would prefer land that is currently eligible for organic certification, but may be able to work without that in the right situation.

Description of marketing method:

Marketing is somewhat dependent on location and may change as my business develops. I have two farms that are potentially interested in buying finisher cattle and piglets from me.  When I reach the point of finishing my own animals I would likely market through a combination of farm store, Farmer’s markets, and csa depending on location. At some point in the future my husband plans to open a restaurant at which point I would also sell to him.

Does this farmer have a business plan?

In progress

Farm Characteristics

Preferred location:

  • Hudson Valley
    • Orange
    • Putnam
    • Rockland
    • Westchester

Desired acreage:

>100

Infrastructure required:

Barns or other facilities for storage of equipment, livestock, and crops, Water access

Description of buildings required:

I may be able to get away without barns, but some sort of winter shelter for cattle would be very helpful.

Description of water access required:

I require a source of water that can be piped the livestock year round, but can set up necessary piping if need be.

Crops and Livestock

Primary Livestock:

Cattle - Beef, Goats/Sheep, Pigs

Description of livestock/crops:

Beef cattle - I currently raise Devon cattle and would potentially be starting with a herd of 30-40 breeding cows, moving to a larger herd and combination of cow/calf, stockers, and/or finishers.  Pigs - two sows, potentially growing to more in the future, either selling piglets or finishing them myself Sheep - I have a small herd to start with (7 ewes) and am assessing the viability of a sheep enterprise before expanding

Farmland Tenure

Tenure options desired:

Farm Management, For Lease, Partnership, Other Tenure Agreement

Description of tenure options desired:

I am not ready to buy land at this time, but I am open to any other tenure options.

Additional Information

Will this farmer's operation qualify an eligible landowner for an Agricultural Assessment?

Yes

Experience & education:

On farm work experience, Farm internship/apprenticeship, Farmer training or workshop

Experience description:

I grew up on my family’s farm and have been involved in it in one way or another most of my life. Since graduating college in 2014 I have been farming full time (with one winter away to learn butchering in Brooklyn), working as an intern at a diversified farm, then a cattle ranch, then working as assistant manager on a livestock farm in Connecticut where I helped them to start a beef cattle herd, and most recently back on my family’s farm. This past winter I attended the week long Ranching for Profit School, which has given me a new set of tools to approach farming, and make my farming more profitable and also more closely tied to natural systems.