Sam Miller

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Farming Status and Plans

Years actively farming:

Less than 2

Description of farming status, plans, and practices:

I grew up on a small farm in Orleans County where we raised chickens, ducks, geese, pigs, and grew vegetables. I worked every Sunday on a local llama ranch grooming, cleaning stalls, maintaining fences, and helping shearing, and showed their studs every summer in the 4H fair. I attended Middlebury College between 2004 and 2009 and majored in biology with a focus on evolutionary and environmental sciences. In the summer of 2007 I worked as an intern for the Nature Conservancy station in Martha’s Vineyard helping with native grass and invasive species research as well as general farm maintenance (mowing, construction, harvesting) and in 2008 I worked on a local sheep farm during lambing, shearing, and haying seasons.  

My partner and I started working on plans to construct a farm animal rescue sanctuary and are now starting to look for a property that would provide the structures and resources necessary to operate such a sanctuary responsibly and sustainably. Our general plan is to start with smaller animals such as poultry, pigs, and goats that we can incorporate into sustainable land use practices, and then expand to larger animals once we feel like we have established pasture or hay growth necessary to provide healthy spaces and nourishment for those animals.

Since our larger goal is to design, construct, and maintain our sanctuary within a larger sustainable ecosystem, we will also be focusing on sustainable energy capture and reclaiming systems such as solar panels and composting, as well as aquaculture (if possible), mushroom cultivation, bee management, and a focus on native plant biodiversity.

Description of marketing method:

Whether our sanctuary operates privately or as a nonprofit, it will not depend on output from any of the animals for profit. Our long term goals include being able to provide volunteer experiences and short term residential opportunities; if the property was large enough we would also be open to leasing land for growing hay or grazing animals. 

Does this farmer have a business plan?

In progress

Farm Characteristics

Preferred location:

  • Adirondack Region
    • Clinton
    • Essex
    • Franklin
    • Hamilton
    • Warren
  • Capital Area
    • Albany
    • Fulton
    • Montgomery
    • Rensselaer
    • Saratoga
    • Schenectady
    • Schoharie
    • Washington
  • Central
    • Chenango
    • Cortland
    • Herkimer
    • Madison
    • Oneida
    • Onondaga
    • Oswego
    • Otsego
  • Finger Lakes
    • Cayuga
    • Livingston
    • Monroe
    • Ontario
    • Seneca
    • Schuyler
    • Tompkins
    • Wayne
    • Yates
  • Hudson Valley
    • Columbia
    • Delaware
    • Dutchess
    • Greene
    • Orange
    • Putnam
    • Rockland
    • Sullivan
    • Ulster
    • Westchester
  • Southern Tier
    • Allegany
    • Broome
    • Chemung
    • Steuben
    • Tioga

Desired acreage:

51-100, >100

Infrastructure required:

Onsite housing, Barns or other facilities for storage of equipment, livestock, and crops, Farm equipment, Water access, Fencing, Electrical Access

Description of infrastructure:

We will be living onsite in a house on the property; our animals will live in a large barn or smaller barns depending on types and number of animals; we will have a tractor and truck for property work and a trailer for animal transportation; we will have fencing around the pastures, electricity for the barn/s and house, and a well plus fresh water source on the property.

Description of buildings required:

We will need at least one barn that could house a combination of pigs, goats, donkeys, horses, or cows depending on what animals need a home and how many we can provide safe sanctuary at any given time. We will construct or purchase moveable coups for our poultry. A greenhouse and secondary barn for equipment and hay storage would also be ideal.

Description of farm equipment required:

We will need at least one barn that could house a combination of pigs, goats, donkeys, horses, or cows depending on what animals need a home and how many we can provide safe sanctuary at any given time. We will construct or purchase moveable coups for our poultry. A greenhouse and secondary barn for equipment and hay storage would also be ideal.

Description of water access required:

In the interest of self-sufficiency and sustainability, a fresh water source on the property will be necessary. Pond or stream would be ideal for water fowl and the possibility of some small aquaculture systems. 

Description of fencing required:

All of our pastures will be fenced accordingly for the animals that will be grazing there (most likely electric fencing suitable for horses and cows). 

Crops and Livestock

Primary crops:

Vegetables, Hay, Other Crops

Primary Livestock:

Cattle - Dairy, Equine, Goats/Sheep, Pigs, Poultry

Description of livestock/crops:

Since we will be taking in animals from other situations and thus have different populations and types at any given time, our main goal will be flexibility to house and nourish a range of animals safely and sustainably. Based on our research of other sanctuaries in NY state, we will most likely be taking care of chickens, pigs, goats, and then potentially donkeys, horses, and cows once we feel confident in safety and health of our pastures. 

We will be growing assorted fruits, vegetables, and fungi for our own consumption, clover and native flowering plants for the bees, and potentially hay if that feels necessary for providing sustainable and affordable nourishment to our larger animals.

Farmland Tenure

Tenure options desired:

For Sale

Description of tenure options desired:

We are only looking to buy so that we can maintain all aspects of the property in accordance with our goals and the requirements of the state. 

Additional Information

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

Unsure

Experience & education:

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

Experience description:

I grew up on a small farm in Orleans County where we raised chickens, ducks, geese, pigs, and grew vegetables. I worked every Sunday on a local llama ranch grooming, cleaning stalls, maintaining fences, and helping shearing, and showed their studs every summer in the 4H fair. I attended Middlebury College between 2004 and 2009 and majored in biology with a focus on evolutionary and environmental sciences. In the summer of 2007 I worked as an intern for the Nature Conservancy station in Martha’s Vineyard helping with native grass and invasive species research as well as general farm maintenance (mowing, construction, harvesting) and in 2008 I worked on a local sheep farm during lambing, shearing, and haying seasons.