We are seeking a small property with a home and space for 5-10 livestock, a large garden and greenhouse (or space to build these). The wife starts a new job in LaGrande in early 2023 and the husband is stepping away from career for a few years to be primary caregiver for our newborn daughter. She is an avid horse-rider, he seeks to grow a small farm business as a 2nd career as our child grows up, and we both enjoy the work of gardening, landscaping and doing outdoor work.
Essential features include:
• Sufficient pasture and/or hay production to sustain about 100 AUMs (2-3 horses, a few steers and lambs), either very productive dryland or irrigated pasture with water rights.
• Has (or suitable space to build) a few acres of garden, berries, fruit trees, etc..
• Has (or suitable space to build) about 2000 sq ft of greenhouse.
• Has (or suitable space to build) a small barn and basic livestock handling facilities.
• Has (or suitable space to build) a horse-riding arena.
Our farming experience is varied and mostly indirect. the husband's parents managed 2 cattle ranches when he was growing up, both around 600 mother cows (mostly commercial, some registered Angus and Brangus), on which he worked regularly as a youth. His academic education centered on rangeland management and ecology, with graduate research on sustainable grazing practices. During his 11 year job with a non-profit conservation organization, he was responsible for management of 3 eastern Oregon rangeland properties (about 18K acres), including management of grazing, weeds, wildfire, hunting and restoration, supervising staff, maintaining and building facilities, and other tasks. As adults, husband and wife are also avid gardeners and home landscapers. During our recent 2-year journey to New Zealand, we gained some hands-on experience with sheep farming practices and completed 5 online courses from OSU related to small-scale farming.
Our short term goals are:
1- Acquire sufficient grazing and/or hay pasture for our horses and a couple home-grown beef/sheep for personal consumption.
2- Produce enough market garden produce for participation in local farmer’s market within 1 year.
3- Purchase or build season-extending structure(s) for produce (e.g., greenhouse and/or tunnel house), expanding our participation in farmer’s market and/or marketing produce to local consumers direct within 2 years.
4- Develop small farm business to employ the husband half-time in years 1-3, and near full-time by year.
Our long term goals are to develop a sustainable small farm business to maturity that employs the husband full-time. In the short and long term, we will develop our small farm to provide our family with a safe, healthy, and interesting environment, where we can eat and sell what we grow, work, play, and learn, while also contributing positively to the health and well-being of our local community.
We have 1 child, and grandparents who visit frequently, so a 3 bedroom/2 bath home is a minimum. We would consider property with multiple dwellings, barn lofts, etc., or property with suitable zoning and sites for construction. An ideal local is within 30 mins of downtown LaGrande, but has some privacy from neighbors provided by distance, topography and/or tree cover.
This is not an exhaustive list, but a few high priority actions for us include:
• Not sell anything we wouldn’t ourselves consume.
• Adhere to best practices for food safety, for our own health and that of our customers.
• Apply farm management practices that benefit the health of our farm’s natural resources.
• Engage with our neighbors, peer farmers, and local experts, to put the principle of lifetime learning into practice.
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