FarmStart, an innovative Northeast program to help young people get started in farming, is pleased to announce the approval of its 150th investment. Since the first investment approved in August of 2006, FarmStart has now invested more than $6.5 million with 150 participants throughout New York, New Jersey and New England.
The program’s 150th investment, and first Maine investment, was to Long Cove Sea Farm, an oyster farm in Deer Isle, Maine. Owner Abigail Barrows has a desire to provide locally produced seafood to the area, while also improving the marine environment. She was excited when the opportunity to purchase an existing oyster farm presented itself earlier this year, but she was lacking the necessary funds to make the purchase. She turned to FarmStart.
“I have a passion for aquaculture, but not much of a business background, so my FarmStart advisors have been great to work with as I’ve gotten started,” said Abigail Barrows. “They understand the seasonality of my business and have created a flexible payment schedule to match. My payments are lumped into the months I am actually producing oysters, instead of when my farm is under a foot of ice in January – and that’s huge.”
“At Farm Credit East we understand that the long term strength of the Northeast agriculture, commercial fishing and forest products industries depends on new entrants,” said Bill Lipinski, Farm Credit East CEO. “We also recognize the demands for capital and financial management skills that may make it difficult to establish a new business, therefore we established programs, such as FarmStart, to assist in the early stages of their business.”
“Our 150th investment is an exciting milestone for the FarmStart program,” said Lynn Weaver, FarmStart program manager. “We initiated this unique program nine years ago to give new entrants into the agriculture, commercial fishing and forest products industries a healthy start. Each new investment continues to support our mission of a vibrant, entrepreneurial agricultural community in the Northeast.”
FarmStart, LLP was initiated by Farm Credit East and CoBank as part of Farm Credit’s long-term commitment of helping young individuals get started in farming. Yankee Farm Credit joined the program in 2011. The program invests working capital of up to $50,000 to help beginning northeast farmer-owned businesses become operational. Each FarmStart participant is required to complete a business plan and monthly cash flow which serves as a roadmap for their startup business. A FarmStart advisor works with each participant to help the new business stay on track toward achieving their business objectives.
For more information on FarmStart please visit FarmCreditEast.com/FarmStart.
—Farm Credit East