Cheryl & JD DeVos, Kimball Brook Farm
JD and Cheryl DeVos are well-seasoned business owners, capable of steering their farm successfully through major changes. They took over the farm in 2001, and after struggling with swinging milk prices, increased the herd size from 80 to over 200, and transitioned from conventional to organic production. They sought assistance from the Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program to make a plan for transitioning to organic in 2004, and then in 2010 to explore options for value-added production. After completing a rigorous feasibility analysis on a milk bottling facility, they began the search for financing, and with the support of the Viability Program's consultants, particularly Rosalie Wilson, realized the construction and launch of their new enterprise in 2012. At start-up they utilized a combination of loans, particularly from the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation guaranteed by USDA Rural Development, a bank loan, a USDA Rural Development Value Added-Producer Grant, and equity from about 20 accredited and non-accredited investors.
Corie Pierce & Adam Wilson, Bread and Butter Farm
Corie Pierce and Adam Wilson took a fairly non-conventional approach to financing when they purchased their farm in South Burlington through the Vermont Land Trust. They raised the capital primarily through a combination of small loans from the Farm Service Agency, a family member and a private community member, as well as from two micro-lenders, The Carrot Project and the Northeast Organic Farmers Association of Vermont. They additionally sourced capital through advance-paid community member shares. Just five years after opening, they operate a highly successful diversified operation, selling meat, vegetables, and bread, and have thousands of visitors annually at their popular Burger Nights during the summer and fall.