- North Country
- Capital Region
- Hudson Valley
- Mohawk Valley
- Finger Lakes
- Southern Tier
- Long Island
- New York City
Established farmer: Over 10 years of farm management experience or ownership
Currently farming full-time
Primary reason for farming
Farm will generate the majority of my income
Farming status, plans, and practices
Raising sheep for 13 years utilizing pasture based management systems, we have been in our current location, leasing a 40 acre farm just outside Bellingham, WA, for the last 5 years. I am currently on the farm full-time, my spouse has an off-farm job in addition to working on the farm. Our goal is for both us of to be on the farm full time. Our practices are regenerative, climate beneficial and working in harmony with nature with no grain inputs. We utilize multi-species, managed intensive grazing principles, moving animals every 2-3 days on pasture during the grazing season. Sheep flock is raised in family groups, lambs are not weaned or otherwise separated from their mothers until breeding time. Our health management includes no prophylactic use of antibiotics or anthelmintics (internal parasite dewormers). Our mission is Happy Sheep. Healthy Soil.
Pastures are maintained using chemical-free, no-till, permaculture and holistic management based methods with a focus on carbon sequestration, soil and forage health and tilth. Our goal is to leave the land better than we found it, year over year.
Our overarching goals are-
to expand our sheep flock from 40 breeding ewes to 75-100 ewes in the next 3-4 years for meat and fiber production as well as registered breeding stock for fellow Icelandic and Shetland sheep breeders throughout the United States.
Raise pastured meat chickens to follow behind the sheep on pasture and offer to lamb customers as an additional revenue stream.
Micro-dairy starting with 1-2 Guernsey cows, growing to a maximum of 4 cows. We currently own one registered Guernsey heifer.
Expansion of our on-farm shepherding education and mentorship into a year ‘round shepherding school and other regionally focused agri-education programs.
We would like to access enough land that we can graze our flock and grow hay for our own animals with additional hay inventory to sell locally.
Access to robust and resilient markets for our farm products.
Farm Experience & Education
- Farm owner
- Farmer training or workshop
- Farm manager
- On farm work experience
2008- Began raising laying hens and growing produce for our family in an urban setting.
2010- Sheep and Goats 101, New Moon Farm Goat Rescue and Sanctuary
2010-WSU Extension Cultivating Success Small Farming and Ranching course.
2010- Purchased a starter flock of Icelandic and one Shetland sheep
2012- WSU Extension Lamb 200 course
2012- WSU Cattlemen’s Winter School
2013- Farm Manager of 120 acre multi-species livestock farm operation on SW Oregon Coast.
2015 to present- providing beginning and ongoing shepherding education and mentorship.
2016-2018- Producer Outreach Coordinator, Three Rivers Fibershed (150 mile radius of Minneapolis/St.Paul, MN)
2018- University of MN Extension Lambing Course
2018- NCAT/ATTRA National Convention
2019- Whatcom Conservation District Farm Speaker Series, Pasture Management
2021,2023- Michigan State University Extension Birth Management of Small Ruminants Course
Food Animal Concerns Trust Humane Farming Mentor- 2019, 2020, 2022, 2023
Members of the Icelandic Sheep Breeders of North America since 2010
Members of North American Shetland Sheep Association since 2016
Members of Fine Fleece Shetland Sheep Association since 2023
Members- WA State Sheep Producers
Farming Plans and Practices
Farming method or practice
- Organic (not certified)
Icelandic and Shetland sheep for registered breeding stock, pastured lamb by the whole and half as well as retail cuts; laying hens, Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs for flock protection. We also offer raw and finished wool products- raw fleeces for handspinners, roving, yarn, and other wool value-added products- dryer balls, coasters and sheepskins, skulls, horns, lanolin based hand salve.
Future plans- add a Guernsey cow micro-dairy, starting with 1-2 milking cows; pasture raised meat chickens. Grow and sell hay. Expansion of our on-farm shepherding educational programs and mentorship.
On-farm store- open daily from March to November, farm website- www.lydiasflock.com, email newsletter, Instagram (@lydias_flock), Bellingham Farmer’s Market, currently listed on the WA Food & Farm Finder. We participate in the annual Whatcom County Farm Tour and in the local Conservation District’s on-farm education events. We participate in local and regional events that align with our farm values and principles.
Farm business plan or farm resume
Provide details on any infrastructure that you require. For example, if housing is required, is family housing needed or is a studio apartment sufficient? We need housing of reasonable size in good condition, we are not interested in shared housing. Perimeter fencing, barn or shed(s) for winter livestock housing and lambing as well as hay/bedding storage. Equipment storage for tractor and basic farm implements would also be optimal. A workshop for my spouse’s woodworking and carpentry tools and machinery and possible space for use as a classroom for our shepherding education workshops and courses. Healthy, well-managed soil and pasture for our livestock and an ample, high quality, drought resistant water source. Equipment access is optional but we would not turn it down.
Straight long-term lease with the option to buy or ownership with initial short-term owner financing until financing can be acquired by us. We are looking for very long-term security, autonomy, and an opportunity to grow our farm operation to its fullest potential, without having to move again. We value our independence and are excellent farm caretakers. We are not looking to farm in community or partnership or take on a farm management position.