Independent Farm Co-op Startup on 108 acres


Description

I purchased this land in Nov 2017 with a vision of building a small-scale diversified farm operation. I have 108 acres containing approximately 35 in pasture, 20 in potential silvopasture, and the rest in woodland. The land includes the top of a hill with most of the pasture on a gentle south facing slope. We have a seasonal creek, and elevation ranges from 650 ft at the creek to 1250 ft at the top of the hill. There are a few miles of trails on the property in various states of repair. There is also a ~30,000 sq ft pond, but it will need to be rebuilt as it no longer holds water. There should hopefully be a permitted onsite spring pumped up to the height of land for ag water by Spring of 2021. In the interim, water comes from a 5 gpm well not permitted for commercial ag (1/2 acre homesteading garden notwithstanding).

I am hoping to attract 3-6 independent small-scale agrarian businesses that operate together under a larger cooperative. I am not interested in being anybody’s boss or mentor. Instead my roll would be to facilitate and grow our cooperative while being responsible for the property as a whole and the various large scale infrastructure projects needed for production. I have a background in permaculture, and am looking for folks who are familiar with the terms and goals therein. I am working with a couple well-qualified permaculture consultants to develop a master plan that will guide the practices farmers engage in. If you are enthusiastic about intensive rotational grazing, you may be a good early fit.

Unfortunately I do not have the resources necessary to fund anybody’s startup costs. I am looking for people who are able to cover their own costs (large-scale permanent improvements such as restoring the pond excluded) and will write a well thought out business and marketing plan.

There is a possibility for parking a tiny home or trailer here in the short term as well as a basement apartment in the farmhouse I could see eventually being used by a intern. Unfortunately, I would be unable to offer water and power hookups. If you are in need of other housing, Vernonia is a bike ride away on the Banks / Vernonia state bike trail and offers reasonable rents.

One more thing, if you reply to this message, make sure to check your spam folder for my reply back.


Owner’s Short Term Vision for the Property

The 35 acres of pasture needs to be grazed. It has been fallow for the last 30 years, and I would like to see it restored to its full potential.

The forest needs maintenance, so I also see an immediate opportunity for utilizing thinned trees for mushroom cultivation and woodworking. There is a basically outfitted wood shop that could easily be upgraded if someone wanted to sell woodcrafts.

Currently there is a reasonably well outfitted 1/2 acre garden with a 700 sq ft greenhouse. This would most likely be geared toward farmstead subsistence production. I keep a small flock of laying birds, but the coop and run that I built could comfortably accommodate 60 birds (not to mention the pasture) if someone saw a business opportunity there. There is also an opportunity for using part of that space for marketable cut flowers or medicinals.

One of my ongoing goals for this place is that each independent farmer helps supply basic sustenance for the community of farmers here. With that in mind, I would ask every farmer to join me in putting a non-burdensome amount of time into fully realizing the garden potential as a means of co-op self-support.


Owner’s Long Term Vision for the Property

Eventual opportunities include (but are not limited to) beekeeping, grains, aquaculture in a restored pond, compost/vermiculture, dairy, and secondary businesses that process onsite products for sale (ferments, sauces, etc). While there would be guidelines for the types of practices these businesses could engage in, I am not looking to be anybody’s boss. The particulars of individual operations would be left to the owners of those businesses (within the guidelines set out in the larger site-plan). However, these businesses would be members of a larger collective whose purpose would be to encourage synergies between operations making them more efficient, more resilient, and more profitable, while improving the land in the process. We can easily imagine co-marketing opportunities, bulk purchasing advantages, perhaps even healthcare one day, and so on.

In the long long term, I see eventually turning this land over to a land trust of some kind to ensure a good long term relationship with the farmers who make their livelihoods here.


Current Use

The last three years have mostly been focused on cleaning this place up, building garden and wood shop infrastructure, and planning. My job here has been and will be to shepherd this land and the community of people who will work it as a whole (while raising two daughters). I am also intending to build a few small cabins for agri-tourism revenue.


Available Water / Irrigation

Drinking water comes from a well we dug which currently produces at the rate of 5 gpm.

We have an above ground spring on the land that could be permitted for agriculture, hopefully for at least some part the 2021 season.

We also have the rights to a spring on a neighboring mountain which could be gravity fed to the whole property, though this is a longer term project.

There is a 30,000 sq ft pond that should catch a great deal of water from the pasture, but it will need a significant overhaul before it can hold water into the summer. I am hoping to have this done in summer 2021.


Soil Type / Quality

Melby silt loam, gobble silt loam


Buildings and Structures Available for Farm Use

My kids and I live in a farmhouse with a recently remodeled basement apartment. I could imagine this is a potential space for an intern at some point, but that would be further down the road.
There is also a 1300 sq ft wood shop with a nice collection of basic tools. Further tools for fine work would have to be brought in though if that were part of anyone’s business plan.
I am open to building a barn, but I would need to consult on particulars


Farm Equipment Available for Use, Sale or Lease

- Kubota MX5200 tractor with the following implements:
- front-loader
- grapple
- tiller
- grader
- wood chipper
- auger
- mower
- backhoe
- logging winch
- Trencher
- Push behind tiller
- Brush mower
- Wood shop
- Table saw
- Radial arm saw
- Drill press (soon)
- Planer (soon)
Chainsaws
8 x 12 trailer

Equipment on the short-list:
- Wood mill
- Heavy duty chipper


Any Restrictions That Could Limit Agricultural Production

We are zoned EFU


Locations of land listings on map are not necessarily exact. Many are located on the nearest town or city.
County: Washington

Farm Basics

Total Acreage: 108

Acreage Available to Landseeker: 35 pasture (some could be converted to growing crops), 70 woodland

Date Property is Available: October 1, 2020

Possible Business Arrangements: Partnership, Other

Lease Rate / Price: negotiable

Date when this listing was created: August 21, 2020

Farming Practices

Current Farming Practices: Organic, Not Certified

Farming Practices Allowed: Certified Organic, Organic, Not Certified, Biodynamic, Dry Farming, Season Extension, Other

Agriculture Types Suitable: Beans, Bees, Berries, Cattle, Dairy, Fiber Animals, Flowers, Goats, Grain, Herbs, Hogs, Horses, Mushrooms, Nursery Stock, Nuts, Orchard/Fruit, Pasture, Poultry, Rabbits, Sheep, Vegetables, Vineyard, Other

Farm Details

Housing Available? Yes

Water Available? Yes

Property Fenced? No

Land Holder Interested in Mentoring Land Seeker? No


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