Featured Farmer Profile: Mike Quinlan

Mike with Cow

What is your farming experience/background? 

I grew up working as much as I could on my family's small 50 head dairy operation in Central New York. Unfortunately, by the time I returned home from the Marine Corps the milking herd had been dispersed and the last few years there were spent raising dairy heifer replacements until the farm was sold off. Currently I have been attending a 6-week workshops on sheep production and beef cattle management through Cornell Small Farms Program. I also work full time as a foreman for a construction company in Ithaca, NY and work part time as a farm hand at an organic dairy in Truxton, NY.  

What are you looking for in farmland?  

I am hoping to find land in Cortland County or within a reasonable distance. My intent is to develop hardy flock of hair sheep that require minimal inputs so essentially 20-100 acres of fenced pasture are the only must haves for infrastructure. I am open to various types of tenure arrangements, from a traditional lease to lease to own or even partnerships or working cooperatively with other farmers. I would also be very interested in pursuing solar field grazing during the grazing months.  

What are your future plans for your farm business?  

Over the next year my goal is to locate a piece of property to start developing the flock and dialing in my rotational grazing system. My biggest focus will be on genetics and locating and retaining stock that can be productive in a low input system in our area. Within 5 years the main goals will be to increase in size to 150 +/- breeding ewes who are essentially just lambing and being overwintered at the home farm. Lambs will be weaned in July and ewes will be transported to solar farms to execute grazing contracts. This will open up a substantial amount of pasture at the farm to allow me to graze stocker heifers or custom graze cattle for local beef and dairy operations. 

To learn more about Mike and his farming plans, go to his profile.

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