Farmer Profile for Robert Blackmer

Co-Applicant / Spouse Name

Taylor Blackmer

Please describe your past and/or present farming experience

Robert has been farming professionally for 12 years. He began his career as an apprentice at a Polyface rental farm where he learned to raise pastured livestock (poultry, beef and pigs) using rotational and regenerative methods. Since his apprenticeship he has worked in Kentucky (2 seasons) at a pasture based livestock operation as a farmhand while running his own small vegetable and dairy CSA. This position was followed by 5 years as the farm manager at Pat's Pastured in Rhode Island. Pat's Pastured is a pasture based livestock operation raising broiler chickens, laying hens, laying ducks, pigs, beef and turkeys all on pasture using rotational grazing methods. In 2017 Bob joined the vegetable production team at Zephyr Farm in Rhode Island where he turned his focus to vegetable production for market sales.In 2019 he and Taylor decided to move to Vermont where he got a job as the livestock and equipment manager at Sweetland Farm in Norwich, where he currently works. Along with livestock and equipment management his responsibilities also include working in the greenhouse, all forms of tractor work on the 9 acre veggie farm, running hay equipment on the 40+ acres of hay land, managing crew members and property maintenance/ caretaking. Taylor grew up on a small gentleman's farm in Rhode Island where her mother ran a small farm stand, highland beef operation and a breeding program for Lincoln Longwool sheep. She began working for Hopkins Southdowns in 2006 as a farm hand in their veggie gardens and sheep barns and working the farmers market stand. She attended the Northeast Sheep Shearing School at Cornell, a 2 day shearing workshop with professional shearer Doug Rathke. After this workshop she started a small sheep shearing and farm sitting business. In 2010 she began attending Green Mountain College where she obtained a degree in sustainable agriculture and food production. During College she worked for Herb Trombley where she learned how to work with draft horses and Oxen. After college Taylor spend 2 years working part time at Cate Farm as a field hand and greenhouse apprentice and full time at Vermont Salumi where she learned about the art of butchering and curing meats. In 2014 she returned home to Rhode Island where she began working part time for Pat's Pastured while beginning her own Veggie and meat CSA and running a small farm stand. After a few seasons and the addition of Bob to the farm team, we increased sales through our farm stand and fine tuned many of our systems to make the business more profitable. Since moving to Vermont, Taylor has spent 2 seasons working for Sweetland Farm as both a field hand and the production manager where her responsibilities included management of the greenhouse, high tunnels, harvest and packing, farmers market organization, crew management and all levels of necessary daily tasks. She has decided to take a year off of farming while expecting their first child.

Are you currently farming?

Yes

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

Yes

Counties being considered

Addison
Bennington
Caledonia
Orange
Rutland
Washington
Windham
Windsor

What is the primary agricultural enterprise you are considering?

Vegetables

What other enterprises are you considering?

Apple/Fruit
Beef
Berries
Hay/Forage
Herbs
Hogs
Livestock
Maple Sugaring
Nursery
Pasture
Poultry
Sheep
Vegetables
Woodlot

Total Acres Desired

100.0

Tillable Acres

5.0

Acres in Pasture

20.0

Organic

No

Farm Structures Needed

Barn(s)
Greenhouses

Farmhouse Needed

Yes

Equipment Needed

Depending on arrangment- Tractor, vegetable production implements, haying equipment, etc.

Which of the following arrangements are you considering?

Lease with Option to Buy
Owner-Financed Sale
Standard Sale
Work to Own (Gradual Transfer of Responsibility & Farm Assets)

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.

Bob and Taylor would like to run/ own a small diversified vegetable and pasture raised meat operation focusing on providing high quality and healthy food to our community.