To the people that live near my family’s 13.60 acres located behind Champlain Park,
In the Zoning Board meeting on Wednesday Oct. 13th 2010 many of you voiced concerns over us starting a small farm on our property. I would like to address some of your concerns and misconceptions about our plans for our property.
First off, at anytime if anyone had concerns they could have asked either me or my husband about what our plans were. My father who lives right next to the property would have been more then happy to address those concerns as well. Instead, a great deal of people seemed to be willing to believe the malicious rumors spread around the community, instead of asking one of us directly. The truth is we have no intentions of starting some large pig farm; our goal is to start a small family run farm to support the community by providing healthy naturally produced foods. This is not some large business; we only have 13.60 acres which would not support a large farm. In the future we would like to start a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program which would allow people to buy “stock” in the farm. People would purchase a “package” deal which depending on how much you spend would provide you with fresh produce, eggs and meat for so many weeks or months. I also would allow people to come volunteer at the farm; this would allow people to purchase food at a reduced rate or receive some things for free dependent on how much time they want to dedicate. I am not doing this to make money, while this must be a profitable venture to keep the farm running, I am not trying to get rich. I merely want to return to the way of life our ancestors lived, by living off the land and growing our own food. This is still in the planning process and may be changed to meet Town of Plattsburgh zoning and codes. We WILL NOT move foward in our plans to start a small farm until we have all the proper permits and approved site plan. Right now all we want is to build a barn for the animals we already have on the property.
Now to address some concerns brought up at the meeting.
1) Smell, Vermin & Insects
I know when most people think of farms they think of Giroux’s or other large farming operations in the area. This is not what we want to become. These large farms stink because the animals live in a small area where their feces gather and rot. This is not our plan, while our pigs we have now are in small pens in the future we wish to house them and our chickens on pasture. I can tell you from visiting many other pasture based farms that animals kept on pasture don’t stink. I will not get more animals than the land we have can sustain on pasture thus reducing the smell to almost zero. The same can be said for the vermin and flies, by allowing the animals to roam it will reduce the amount of manure in one area and therefore attract fewer flies. I do not, at this time, store any food on the property and when I do it will be properly secured. Having animals out there will attract no more vermin then normal people do by owning a bird feeder. With the chickens I use Diatomaceous Earth to both reduce the smell of their coop and to control fleas, mites and lice. DE is organic and not a pesticide, it has no negative environmental or health effects (unless you stick you head in a bag of it and inhale deeply, it is the consistency of chalk dust).
2) Animal’s Welfare
Some concern has been made over the care of the animal because we do not live at the property. My father and sister live right by where the animals are kept and my husband and I only live 5 minutes away. We are there everyday and if we are out of town we have arrangements for the animals to be cared for. The animals are fed everyday at the same time and they do not have grain left out. The pigs are fed AllStock feed along with apples, left over garden scraps, bread, and the occasional yogurt or milk to help keep their digestive tract healthy and their bones strong. The sheep and goats are each feed a formulated grain in measured amount once a day and have hay available to them all day. The sheep and goats get their hooves trimmed every 4-6 weeks and are up to date on there CDT shots and have all been wormed. My one pygmy goat had problems with foot-rot when we first bought him because his previous owners where not aware that he needed his feet trimmed; it has sense been treated and he is recovering nicely. These animals are our pets and family, we treat them as such. We do not use unnecessary antibiotics or growth hormones.
3) How Many Animals?
We plan on breeding the pigs next year and selling the piglets. Any piglets that are not sold will be sent to a USDA inspected slaughterhouse for processing at 6 months of age, so we are trying to raise the pigs as naturally as possible to create the highest quality meat to eat. We will NEVER have more than one breeding boar and two breeding sows at a time; this does not make us a pig farm. We do not plan on getting anymore sheep, but we may get a few more goats. We have dairy goats right now and are looking into getting a few meat goats as well. We do plan on getting some chickens but the majority will be laying hens and any roosters we may have will be kept locked in their coops until well after sunrise so as to not disturb anyone’s sleep. We do plan on getting meat chickens and turkeys, but just like all the other animals they will be raised on pasture to reduce the smell and produce the healthiest bird possible for processing. New York State allows small farms to butcher up to 1,000 birds on their property, we will not be raising the maximum amount of birds as I believe our acreage cannot sustain that many. We will be butchering and processing the birds on the property both for ourselves and the community. There have been studies done that show that birds processed at small homestead farms have substantially less bacterial growth then those processed in slaughterhouses, even though they submerse their birds in chlorinated water after butchering. While we would like to get some cattle eventually I don’t believe we have enough acreage for cows at this time. The only other animal to be housed on the property will be my sister’s quarter-horse Freckles, which she has been boarding for about five years at a private boarding facility.
4) Child Safety
If you think our animals would hurt your children then your kids should not be on our property. The animals have escaped pervious to us constructing their new fencing, but we seem to have it figured out and they have not escaped since. The animals are not aggressive, and just like if one of your neighbors dogs got loose, just remind your kids they should not be approaching strange animals. All the animals came from homes that had small children so they are use to them and unlikely to bite, but once again your child should not be allowed around any animal unsupervised. When we put up the fencing for the pasture we plan on leaving the area where the Christmas trees are now open to act as a buffer between the animals and the rec park.
5) Environmental Health
As I said before we want to develop a sustainable farm that works with the environment instead of against it. All of the animal droppings will be composted and used to fertilize our large vegetable gardens we have planned. There will not be significant run-off and we will not be using any pesticides or chemical fertilizers. We want to start this small farm to help the environment not hurt it. Buying local produce, meat and eggs will help the environment because they don’t have to be shipped from across the country or from over-seas. By supporting small sustainable farms you will be helping the environment instead of supporting large corporate run agribusiness that have decimated our lands, polluted our waters and poisoned our fellow citizens with salmonella and e coli.
In closing if you have any concerns please contact us via email, my email is KaylaP@theimpulsivefarmer.com and you can visit our website to stay up to date on what is going on with our farming project. Our website is www.theimpulsivefarmer.com
Also, just to reiterate, WE ARE NOT AT THIS TIME STARTING A FARM. These are our future plans for the property within the next few years or so; right now all we want is to build a barn for the animals already on the property.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
Kayla L Peate