Mark Smith

Mark Smith

  • United States, TN, Cumberland City
Mark Smith Cumberland City, TN
May 20, 2021
 
As we hear of many initiatives indicating a need for more, smaller farms (in fact the very type I own myself), I thought this may be of interest for other small vegetable or fruit farmers: https://extension.umaine.edu/maine-farmer-resource-network/2021-maine-farm-worker-compensation-survey/. You will see in the photo that most of the farm respondents to this graduate survey were from Southern Maine. This is due primarily to logistics - Look at a map of the state and you will see how difficult it would be for a farmer in northern Maine to sell produce outside of his or her local economy. Especially so if the majority of folks in these rural communities also grow their own gardens to supplement their income. Additionally, the climates and topography can vary greatly across the state (I.e., Downeast has a significant amount of ledge and shallow, acidic soil profiles - hence wild blueberries reign there). What wasn't mentioned in the survey, but is a topic of significant discussion over coffee amongst farmers - insurance requirements for hourly employees that operate heavy equipment and tractors. Most of the small farmers I knew there performed these tasks themselves. I would love to see this type of data from other states. Hope this is informative for others especially the logistics. I ran into many new farmers that didn't realize that a great buy on land in a remote region may not be as profitable as a much smaller parcel closer to logistics nodes, especially if there isn't a second source of income for the farm
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Mark Smith Cumberland City, TN
May 20, 2021
I failed to mention that livestock would have been a larger percentage based on the number of veterans I personally knew who were interested in running small livestock operations due to the relative affordability of land that could handle livestock (compared to land costs in other states), but processing was a challenge (logistics once again). I spoke with one of the largest sheep operations there, and they relied on 7 different processing plant just to handle the throughput, some of which were as far away as New York. And yet again, logistics

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