Tuesday, February 7, 2012

In Thanksgiving

As the days have begun to pass on our new farm we have been busy preparing taxes, tilling seed beds, and of course worrying about how we would make it to the growing season. We have been so busy with paper work that I have had little time or energy to post here. I'd like to share my experience over the last week or so because it is important for people to hear about the realities of having your own small-scale farm. Yet, really this is a post in thanksgiving for all the ways God provides for me and my family daily.

About a week ago my wife and I went into the local tax store to do our taxes. This is the same thing we have done for the last four years, but this year was different. This year we had our own business, a very modest income, and several other problematic tax situations. We sat down......3 hours later we left frustrated. The tax professional seemed to know less than we did, and worst of all she was telling us that we would probably end up owing rather than getting a return. That was problematic for a family as poor as we are. We were depending on that return to cover several items, without which, we could not farm this year. We went home and began one of the most difficult financial and paperwork oriented weeks in our marriage. As we drove home I pondered what I was going to do, and as has happened so often in my life, I heard that quiet voice inside saying: "Prepare to be tremendously blessed."

Today we finally finished our taxes. It was a heroic hurdle in a difficult week. However, today was a day of "tremendous blessings." I've sat the last week pondering what I could sell so that I could purchase supplies to farm with this year. We even made a list of what we could sell, and posted a few things on Craigslist. Both my wife and I were prepared to part with things we really loved to keep our dream alive. Today began cold, rainy, and dreary. We were up half the night because the neighbors separated a cow and calf and the cow was so noisy we couldn't sleep. Then our youngest woke up at 5:40 this morning and let us know that the day had begun. However, a bad start doesn't always mean a bad end.

Today was a day of blessings because today both my wife and I realized just how well God's plan for us always works out. Tonight I look back on the day and can hardly believe what God has done. We are receiving a modest refund that will get us through. However, God used our difficulties with our taxes to open me up to doing some searching. Today I went into the FSA (Farm Service Agency) and talked to a very kind woman about a beginning farmer loan. (very small loan with very very low interest) It will provide some equipment for the farm that will make farming much better for me. I then walked across the hall and went to the NRCS office and talked about a high tunnel grant that the state is offering. It looks like we qualify for a 2000sq ft. greenhouse for nothing.... I couldn't believe it. We also might qualify for a grant for an irrigation well that we desperately need, and could not afford. This is all on top of the fact that our CSA has been suddenly rapidly filling with members because a kind local Raw Milk Farmer sent our information out to his customers. It has been truly a day of tremendous blessings. We have everything we need to continue what we feel God wants us to do. Now all I have to do is learn to trust more.


Kevin

8 comments:

Devin Rose said...

awesome! Thanks be to God.

Jim Albert said...

I heard about those high tunnel grants here in SC. I didn't know about the well though. Wonderful news kevin.

Is this the high tunnel that doesn't go all the way to the ground?

Kevin Ford said...

Jim,

The High Tunnel Grant here in KS is basically a non-heated greenhouse. It can be no larger than 2100 sq ft. The state pays beggining farmers (anyone with 10 years or less farming experience, and more than one year experience) $2.28 per sq ft. Grower's Solution has a 2000 sq ft. greenhouse for around $3000. You can do the math. The grant is $1.90 for non-beginning farmers. I don't think all the states cover as much as ours. I thought it was only 50% cost share, but my visit said otherwise.

Kevin

Jim Albert said...

Kevin,

do the hoop houses go all the way to the ground and do they go almost to the ground leaving 1 or 2 feet of air space on the sides?

Thanks,
Jim

Jim Albert said...

I don't know why I am having so much keyboard trouble asking you this simple question--but, in the last message where I used "and" I meant to use "or" ("...or do they almost...."). Probably more confusing.

Kevin Ford said...

Jim,

I believe they go all the way to the ground, but I also believe you could have the option to do pull up sides if you desired. It just specifies that it must be a stationary unheated high tunnel with at least 4 year plastic on it. You could check with your local NRCS office and fill out the form. It only took 5 minutes for us to do the form, but it might be different in your state.

Kevin

Kevin

Abel said...

It sounds like farming is very challenging and difficult but rewarding. I wanted to know what exactly this land movement is all about, it sound interesting. I stumbled on to your site because my brother in law asked me to look up some possibility of getting together with other Catholics and farm and help one another. I would like to receive more information about this movement. Thank you God bless you. Abel

Rose said...

I don't know where I found you're blog from, maybe Facebook, but the Lord has impressed upon me that I should buy land. I have found the place, just some details. I so wan't for my children, who are all adults, but especially the grand babies to be able to work the land. My dear DIL is a farm girl, she and her sister are being drawn back to the land too. Where I live of course we can't have chickens and such, but ten miles down the road we can. The kids are all open to it. So thanks for the confirmation, I knew nothing about the CLM.