Farmer John

Farming Experience

Farming experience

11+ years of experience

Type of farming experience

  • Gardening
  • Homesteading
  • Worked on a farm
  • Farm management experience
  • Farm business ownership
  • Something else/additional (describe below)

Description of farming experience

We have raised sheep and cows for over two decades. We have also made cheese, slaughtered for meat, and experimented with various foods and storage methods.

Name of your farming operation or where you are currently farming

Shepherd's Spring Farm

Farming Plans

State(s) of interest

  • Vermont

Minimum acreage desired

25

Arrangements desired

  • Lease
  • Farm manager
  • Lease-to-own

Arrangement description

We are flexible. We have 34 bred ewes and 12 beef cows that can work the land. We have good references and work to educate people about farming and food.

Planned farming practices

  • Not certified, but follow organic practices
  • Sustainable/regenerative

Farming practices description

Beef and lamb for meat, grass-fed. (Some organic grain for lactating ewes and young lambs).

Planned farming enterprises

  • Hay
  • Livestock
  • Vegetables

Farming enterprises description

Raise sheep and cows for meat (and wool), grass-fed and organic. Experience making both square and round bales of hay.

Infrastructure needed

  • Farm buildings
  • Housing
  • Livestock shelter/housing

Additional Information

My wife Jackie and I owned our own 160-acre farm in Barton, Vermont, where we made cheese and raised sheep, pigs, beef cows, and draft horses. We now rent a small former dairy farm in central Vermont, and our landlady may sell the house in the spring or later in 2024. We have been here about 4 years and are on very good terms with her, but we have also grown our herd of Hereford cows and flock of Dorset sheep to a size where we must either downsize or grow, and we need more land to do so. 

I am an author and food rights activist. I support the PRIME Act and local on-farm slaughter traditions. I work with many organizations in Vermont and around the nation to advocate for local, regenerative agriculture and healthier diets. One reason my wife and I farm is to "walk the walk" and create a platform from which to warn and educate people and preserve livestock genetics.

Joel Salatin wrote the foreword to my book, Small Farm Republic, published by Chelsea Green Publishing. 

We have also lived several years off-grid in a house we continue to try to complete, and land bequeathed through my family since my great-great-great-great-grandfather. We have built a masonry heater and root cellar, and installed a ram pump that carries water uphill from a natural spring.  

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