John Hogeland and Beth Hoffman
Lovilia – Whippoorwill Creek Farm LLC
Why do you want to farm?
It has been my dream for the last 20 years to return to my family’s farm and to run it. I lived in San Francisco from the 1990s where, before this past summer, I was involved in introducing sustainable farming into grocery stores and restaurants, which I found inspiring. I understand what consumers are looking for, at least on the West Coast, and have learned a lot about sustainable agriculture. I am ready to put that into action here on our farm.
What are you farming right now?
We are leasing the 540-acre family farm and purchasing the 28-head cattle herd from my father. I shifted 110 acres of row crop land into hay and planted 80 chestnut trees on half an acre. I enrolled in EQIP [Environmental Quality Incentives Program] and am in the process of adding additional watering facilities for an enlarged cattle presence on the farm.
What’s your vision for your farm?
I want to bring our family farm back into sustainability both ecologically and financially. This summer we began rotational grazing with our cattle, and we plan to also bring goats into the picture next year.
Ultimately, we would like to implement “co-farming” on our land, where we work with beginning farmers to manage the land for its ecological benefits. This will give participants free or low rent while they help bring the land into full production and intensify its return to health.
Why do you want to participate in this program?
We leased my father’s farm and are in the process of switching the farm to organic standards, and the cattle to an intensive rotational grazing program with a goal of selling our cattle as grass-fed organic in the next few years.
Since I have been off the farm for the last 25 years, I am looking for help both with my cattle and farm plan and with the overall business plan. A mentor and someone to help review and revise the business plan would be a great help, as would having the support in adding to a savings account.