Katherine McDonough

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Farming Status and Plans

Years actively farming:

Less than 2

Description of farming status, plans, and practices:

Using my experience from working on a family farm, I am looking to start a small organic-only farm with prime space (and appropriate acreage) in Westchester County, or nearby.  My business plan is underway, with two male partners, one of whom with business / retail & management experience, as well as one with construction/contracting and planting and growing experience. (Initial plan calls for use of a greenhouse and all necessary supplies to be organic.)

Description of marketing method:

As the farm will be organic, we will be supplying products which are in significantly higher demand than their non-organic counterparts. We have already reviewed 2 organic certifiers, and will ensure that land that has not recently been used in a capacity that would disqualify the land for organic certification and/or make such land ineligible.

Three common ways of selling product is to sell to 3rd party distributors, to local grocers and restaurants, and to sell directly to the consumer via farmers markets and potentially coops.  In organic farming sales are a little different because the majority of NY based distributors are non-organic. In this case there are fewer local buyers, but demand is higher amongst those local buyers, and in addition organic processors while small in number, are highly demanding local organic product.  Local targets for sales are grocers, processors, and farmers markets.  

Further research of distributors to see if some are taking organic product is underway and planned outreach to NYC based Trade. Coops and National organic buyers will also be investigated as potential opportunities for product sales.

Does this farmer have a business plan?

In progress

Farm Characteristics

Preferred location:

  • Hudson Valley
    • Dutchess
    • Orange
    • Putnam
    • Rockland
    • Westchester

Desired acreage:

1-5, 6-10, 11-20

Infrastructure required:

Water access, Electrical Access

Description of infrastructure:

As the farm is a startup, the infrastructure needs may increase slightly over time as the business grows, but a simple infrastructure is anticipated as the farm will be a small owner run business.

Initially two greenhouses will be built, utilizing the available electricity and water on-site.  All equipment, materials and supplies will be stored securely, as needed, in either existing structures and/or additional new structures. (We are still in the process of reviewing how harvested crops will be stored and if this will require the building of a new structure requiring refrigeration.) As the business grows we expect some additional infrastructure may be needed.

Description of water access required:

Access to water supply(s) will be needed for the watering of crops/plants.

Crops and Livestock

Primary crops:

Vegetables, Other Crops

Description of livestock/crops:

Crops will consist primarily of organic herbs, peppers, and other garden vegetables. (Notably, specific varieites of organic mushrooms are under consideration as well.)

Farmland Tenure

Tenure options desired:

For Lease, Partnership, For Sale, Other Tenure Agreement

Description of tenure options desired:

We would desire to rent, preferably with the option to buy in the future. (Ideally, the lessor will be someone who is primariliy interested in meeting the agricultural assessment for tax purposes/benefits.)

Additional Information

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

Yes

Experience & education:

On farm work experience, Other

Experience description:

Family farm (still run by uncles) in upstate NY.  Grew up doing some retail work on the farm, and am very familiar with the business in various aspects.