Final Report for FNE06-594
Many people jump into raising livestock without actually knowing what to do. We get many calls from beginning farmers asking us for help. It is difficult to learn about farming practices just by reading about them, and it is very hard to describe many of our practices with words alone. You may not understand what to do or where to start unless you get to apprentice on a farm and get hands on lessons. Many of the current videos available today focus only on one type of livestock farming and not on how diversified farms operate. A multi-species approach to farming is by far more beneficial to the land and those using it. There are many facets to our farm, and we show how each of these parts fits in with the whole picture of sustainable farming. This twenty-two minute video showcases many of our techniques and sustainable practices, including poultry, beef cattle, rabbits, ducks, goats, marketing, and sales. The video is available in DVD format for distribution to farmers, and shows how animals, crops, direct sales, and on farm promotions all fit in with the whole picture of sustainable farming.
We own and operate, Rumbleway Farm, located in Conowingo, Maryland on 62 acres. Our farm has been Certified Organic since 1999. On our farm we raise hay, beef cattle, goats, pastured poultry (chickens and turkeys), rabbits, and ducks. We maintain our pastures as organic and have decided because of the cost of organic feed, to have feed made for us using crops available locally. There are no animal byproducts or antibiotics added to our feed. We have been farming for a total of 14 years, 7 years part time and full time for the last 7 years. In 2000 we built an onsite processing area. We applied for and received the right to process our birds under USDA inspection. We chose this avenue for processing because of our proximity to Delaware and Pennsylvania and the opportunity for sales across state lines. In 2001 we added a certified kitchen to provide added value from our products. We utilize our commercial kitchen to host Dinner at the Farm from Dec through April. This allows us to use our processing space during our down tune and brings added income to the farm. We also market our products at two natural food cooperatives in Delaware. Last year we raised and processed 2500 Cornish-cross chickens, 300 white and heirloom turkeys, and 100 rabbits.
We are a grass-based farm and rotationally graze our cattle. The farm sells custom processed beef and pork as well as freezer cuts direct to customers. The Boer goats are raised on fenced in hedgerows around our property. All of our birds are raised in free range housing systems that we have designed. We are seasonal with poultry from March until November. We utilize our small farm to produce a variety of meat products.
We have a farm day once a year to welcome the public and show them some old time farming events that are currently not common today, like making crock sauerkraut, and pressing apples for cider. We invite other small farms to sell or show their products to help support local agriculture. This project will actually showcase our sustainability. It will act as a marketing tool to enhance retail sales while it helps other farmers adopt sustainable practices.
We chose to have three technical advisors representing different aspects of farming life. Lindsay Tulloch represented Soil Conservation and her help with our grazing techniques and composting facility were invaluable. Joanne Richart-Young from The Office of Economic Development was able to advise us on marketing and promotional issues, and Dave Almquist, representing Cooperative Extension, and was able to review our script for clarity and understanding. We had several meeting to set the theme of our video and work on the script, and all were able to review the video as it was completed.
The theme of the video was designed and the script was then written. A list of farm activities for filming was highlighted to correspond with each part of the script. The filming was then coordinated and our production crew got to work. Activities were filmed then viewed to make sure nothing was missed. Rain and other video projects made filming some events difficult. In video you read from the script not on site, except for interviews, but in a studio so that the sound can be effectively controlled. This is called a voice over. Our voice over was recorded over several weeks as we viewed the material, and changes to the script needed to be made. The editing, music and jacket cover were the last part to be finished.
We worked with The Cecil Soil Conservation District to make a short video for The Small Farm of the Year Award last year and were able to use some of the footage that was filmed to further round out our video. We had rain this past year at farm day and we were only able to shoot a small portion of what we needed that day. Since farm day only occurs once in the fall every year we were very lucky to have some footage that had been filmed the year before. By using this, we were able to complete our on time and without having to seek additional funding. Our videographers pieced together footage from 40-50 hours of taping. The pictures then had to be cohesively mixed with the script voice over. We spent many hours editing this video. The introduction of a host made the video seem much more professional. A twenty-two minute time frame was chosen to allow the video to air within a 30 minute broadcast.
This whole project is about teaching others about sustainable farming practices. The video was made in DVD format for distribution as a teaching tool for beginning farmers through Cooperative Extension, Regional Soil Conservation Districts, Office of Economic Development, 4-H, and other civic organizations. Our county has several beginning farmer workshops and this will be a useful tool to be used.
Making a video is a long and laborious process. You have to always film way more than you expect to use, We spent many hours at the farm in front of the camera. As you listen to the words and try to put the pictures in place that describe that event it takes a critical eye to match it all up. Our videographers at Avio productions are to be commended on their use of new computer technology to make our video look as good as it does. The video is informative without being boring and has many new interesting concepts and techniques. I feel we have succeeded in producing what we set out to do, to show how animals, crops, direct sales, and on farm promotions all fit in with the whole picture of sustainable farming.