Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Springtime on the Farm

Spring is here and the signs outside my window prove it. The sun is shining, the grass is greening, the daffodils are blooming, and on my family’s farm the baby lambs are running about baaahhhing. That’s right….baaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhing! You may be asking yourself why lambs are born in the spring and not year round. Well that is because sheep are seasonal breeders. Their fertility increases as the length of daylight decreases (photoperiod). They breed in the fall, carry the lambs for 5 months and then deliver them in the spring. I recall one spring morning, while I was still in high school, going out to the barn to do chores and finding 3 baby lambs with 5 different ewes (mom sheep) trying to claim them. At first this seemed a little chaotic but after looking things over I figured out one ewe had triplets and the other 4 ewes were just anxious to have lambs of their own.

I share a little bit about my farm with you for two reasons this week; firstly, to tell you some information about farm loans and secondly to let you know about the Indiana Farmers’ Feed US campaign.

I have a lot of people ask about the availability of grants to start a farm. Grants for this are pretty uncommon but, what I do like to suggest are some low interest loans through USDA. One in particular is the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Loan. This loan is available to individuals or entities who have not operated a farm for more than 10 years. For all the details you should visit your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office, and you can use this link to find an office near you.

Now about Indiana Farmers’ Feed US. This is a program which allows consumers to learn more about where their food comes from and connect with the producers who actually raise their food. Farmers work hard to produce a quality product for you (the consumer) to enjoy. Just like the information I provided at the beginning of this blog about the animals on my farm when you visit you will be able to learn more from other farmers about what they do on their operations. Now I bet you’re thinking, what does this has to do with Grants??? Well….not much, but this blog is used as a funding resource, and if you go to the website you can sign up to win FREE GROCERIES for a YEAR!!!!! Just like grants, all it takes is your time to apply and you may be surprised with the outcome.

While March came in like a Lion this year in Indiana, it is going out with a bunch of baby lambs running around in a green pasture.

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