Farmer Profile for Eric Durand

Co-Applicant / Spouse Name

Alannah Herring

Please describe your past and/or present farming experience

A Brief History: After we met and spent two months traveling across the country together we were disgusted by the onslaught of processed food full of genetically modified ingredients that was prominent throughout every part of our country. We made it back to California with a strong drive to create food that we knew where it came from and what was in it. We were lucky enough to lease 20 acres just outside of Oroville, California that we could start growing our own food on that also came equipped with a makeshift carport turned into a chicken coupe. First thing was first, we needed some vegetable seeds and some laying hens. When we found a flock of 10 hens we could buy that were a year old, we thought we found the jackpot. Come to find out we hit more than just the laying hen jackpot, we found the perfect mentor for us at the perfect time who was the one selling us our hens. He turned us on to our first flock of 10 sheep, and had a flourishing C.S.A. that had been running for 10+ years. He knew the climate we were in and the best way to start all of the veggies and when. Dennis was a pivotal piece to our farm puzzle in creating our first successes. Over the course of the next year we brought on and turned over a total of 40 sheep. Found a very impressive Ram, who had 100% success rate in breeding our ewes. From there we had 100% success rate in our lambing. We butchered a total of 20 sheep for lamb meat throughout the year and started some great accounts with local restaurants. We created 200 pounds of sweet potatoes from 8 slips (starts), and enough tomatoes and vegetables to last us through the year and then some. We grew our laying hen flock to 30 birds and had a constant 28 eggs come to us daily. We did two rounds of meat birds, which produced over 400 pounds of chicken for us and the restaurants we created relationships with. Overall, our goal had been reached, we created enough food for ourselves in one season to last a year and we knew exactly where that food came from. There is no better feeling than that right there. We had to shutdown our farm after the first year due to some extenuating circumstances out of our control, and because we were leasing the land we had no say and had to go. We tried to find more land in the northern California area to get back to what we came to find out was our passion and after two years to no avail we decided to head to someplace where farming was more conducive and sustainable, without the constant fear of wildfires. So we headed east, back to Eric’s home land in Vermont. During our two years of searching in California, we did happen upon some great educational experiences, teaching us all about biodynamics and permaculture. Taking this knowledge with us we were excited to be in a land full of fertile dirt and plenty of water. We tried to work with family first to get our farm up and going again, but that turned out to be a bit difficult because not everybody had the same values and ideas. We made our way from Hinesburg up to Johnson and found a great little house to be able to have as our foundation to jump from in starting back up the farm and the passion we were so excited to get back to. Then, life took a little turn and on one of Eric’s hunting trips he fell out of his tree stand and endured a spinal cord injury that took the use of his legs. Two years later and we are having progress in all aspects of life. We have created a consulting business to help Vermont farmers who are struggling find some new and efficient ways to bring their farm back to a flourishing successful business. Eric is making strides in his recovery and has feeling and some movement back in his legs and we are working on building muscle and strength. Come the new year of 2019 our goal is to find a piece of land we can call our own and finally get the passion of farming and creating transparent and sustainable food back up and running.

Are you currently farming?

No

Are you interested in connecting with other farmers to explore collocation or collaborative farm ideas?

Yes

Counties being considered

Addison
Caledonia
Lamoille
Orleans
Windsor

What is the primary agricultural enterprise you are considering?

Row Crops

What other enterprises are you considering?

Goats
Greenhouse
Herbs
Pasture
Poultry
Row Crops
Sheep
Vegetables

Total Acres Desired

100.0

Tillable Acres

50.0

Forested Acres

20.0

Acres in Pasture

20.0

Organic

Yes

Farm Structures Needed

Barn(s)
Other Housing

Farmhouse Needed

Yes

Which of the following arrangements are you considering?

Apprentice with a Farm Owner for a Year or More
Farm Manager
Lease with Option to Buy
Owner-Financed Sale
Standard Sale
Work to Own (Gradual Transfer of Responsibility & Farm Assets)

Have you been qualified by a lending institution? (if applicable)

No

Are you interested in conserved farms?

Maybe (Please send me information)

Do you have a business plan? Please write an informative description of your vision & goals for your farming future.

Overall Business goals: To create a flourishing healthy farm with the idea of biodynamics and sustainability to maintain a healthy ecosystem. Overall Production goals: organic grass fed lamb meat wild raw honey cage free organic eggs greenhouse grown herbs and spices Organic chicken meat Organic High CBD hemp goat milk products worms and worm castings Overall Marketing goals: Our lamb meat and chicken will be butchered and frozen at a USDA facility and sold to local restaurants and markets Our CBD crop will be processed at a trusted facility to make a 99% CBD isolate and will be turned into a few different medicinal products including our farm raised honey and goat milk products Our eggs will be marketed to the local bakeries and breakfast/coffee shops in the area Our worm castings will be bagged and sold to farm supply stores Financial Goals: Currently the market price for lamb meat is $10.00 per lb, and the market price for organic chicken is $4.99 per lb. We plan to have a total of 20 lambs butchered per year producing 800 pounds of lamb meat and two rounds of 50 meat birds per year producing 500 pounds each round. Our small and sustainable meat produce will be grossing us about $10,000 per year The current market price for CBD biomass is $50 per pound. We plan to start with a 10 acre plot of high CBD hemp to produce a minimum of 5,000 pounds of biomass that will gross us $250,000.00 in the first year. The current market price for a dozen Free Range Eggs is $6.00. We plan to have a total of 50 healthy layers which will produce us at least 3 dozen eggs per day. The current market price for worm castings is $25.00 per 30lb bag. We plan to create 50-100 yards of worm castings per year. On the low end that will create 2,000 bags of worm castings that will gross us $50,000 in worm casting sales.