Even though the “no farms, no food” adage is becoming truer by the growing season, it still seems that the game is rigged against producers who need to outsource supplies and labor.
If you want to know where the nearest farmers market, farm direct sales, or year round produce stand is, google can hook you up. Need farm raised organic plant starts? Google it.
But if you are a small farmer and need to know who can deliver 10 tons of lime to the back pasture, I can speak from personal experience that google does not hold the answers.
Being a millennial and that my job description could accurately include “professional stalker,” my proficiency in research is really next to none. But some things you just can’t find the answers to unless your grandfather was in the business.
The best solution I have found is to buy something from a local REAL farmer (which I am not), and make sure you have at least one phone conversation. Then, you have their number and can prey on their pity and ask them for recommendations on whatever it is you are trying to accomplish.
Sure, you can ask Facebook groups, and eventually you might get an answer. But so much chaff and fighting and really, groups are so busy you may get lost in the ether even if you include adorable pictures for tax. But also, sometimes I need an answer at 5am and both Facebook and the local farmer are sleeping.
Here’s what I propose. We start a grassroots movement with our local farm extension office (USDA/SWCD/University) to create: The Farmer’s Phonebook. This brilliant directory will have county or regional listings for some of the small farmers most unanswered questions:
- Locally sourced animal feed
- Bulk fertilizer/lime suppliers with spreader trucks and delivery
- Artificial insemination services (by animal please!)
- 24 hour vet services
- Cow/goat/horse hoof trims
- Bulk seeds for pastures
- Equipment rentals (I.e. seed drills, culti-packs, etc.)
- Farm sitters
- And on and on. You can make recommendations and requests for others to answer your questions as well.
Fun fact, there is a Fish Farmer’s Phonebook published in 2017 that I found; but though God is currently blessing us with some much needed rain, I don’t think I’m quite ready for aquatic farming.
That’s all I got. If anyone works for a local farm-y agency that can help facilitate this or knows of such that exists already, let’s talk!I’m not greedy, a scratch made pound cake for my brilliant idea is thanks enough.