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Small Ruminant Residency at Meadowcroft Farm, Washington, Maine

A one year commitment to learn and be taught Sheep and Fine Wool production on a site specific hill farm in the Midcoast, from January to January, or as soon as possible.

Are you and/or your partner considering a life, lifestyle, or living raising sheep and wool commercially? With the growing awareness of synthetic textiles interfering with our planetary health, and the importance of regenerative agriculture, there is an increasing trend, demand, and need for wool as a solution. Just as important, there is a growing need for knowledgeable small ruminant farmers who know how to do it, without putting animals, land and water quality at risk. Like Farm to Table, it is time for Farm to Textile to take a front seat.

This is not a job opportunity. A fully appointed and brand new second and third floor apartment in the barn  is available for emersion living at a reduced rate for 8-9 months, with occupancy in an unheated cabin in the summer months. A large garden is included in the lease. It is expected that the resident/s will cultivate this for their own pleasure, food, and income potential, while sharing with summer guests. Tools, tillers and abundant compost are available for their use.

The apartment will be rented during the summer months, as a Farm to Table/Farm to Textile vacation destination. Resident/s will be expected to turn over the rental, and income will be shared from said rental. There will be no payment expectation for instruction, supervision, use of equipment, or infrastructure. Cost of the residency will be $12,000 for 12 months, plus cost of propane for heat and hot water. Electricity, water, WIFI and wood-fired sauna will be included. Time commitment depends on desired level of emersion. Where we learn by doing, the more you do, the more you learn.

Whereas you cannot learn to play the piano without a piano, and a piano teacher, this is an opportunity to learn, practice and hone all skills and planning through each season as it relates to sheep and wool production, BEFORE taking on the risk of mortgage, equipment and livestock investment, and infrastructure development. Generational learning in the moment picks up where classrooms, books and you-tube cannot. I want to help set you up for success.

Whereas sheep and wool production requires limited daily diligence, occasional husbandry tasks, and seasonal infrastructure projects, there is plenty of time in the resident schedule to allow for full or part time employment off farm. When it is considered that the resident has achieved competencies and risk management awareness to “fly solo” it will be expected that the resident will provide full farm coverage so farmer/instructor can “fly the coop” for occasional and short term shearing, shows or respite. Upon completion and competencies, Resident will be awarded a small starter flock in the US Polwarth Registry.

ABOUT MEADOWCROFT FARM

On a west facing hill at the top of the Damariscotta Watershed, Meadowcroft Farm is 120 acres of improved pasture, woodlot, and wetlands. Started in 1990, Meadowcroft is the only Polwarth breeder in the US (and the Americas?). Meadowcroft has recently imported registered genetics from New Zealand to develop a US Polwarth Registry with the lofty goal of reseeding the domestic wool industry with naturalized grazers that grow twice as much fine wool as other apparel breeds on a well developed carcass. Lambing season begins in April 2019.


Meadowcroft has relinquished organic certification in favor of Green Certification with Green America (Gold Standard). Focus is on sustainable and biological farming and best practices for soil, water, animal health, and production capacity.

Breeding 50 ewes and 15 yearlings, data is recorded by radio frequency technology to determine animals with best metrics to develop and seed the registry with the intent of selling genetics (rams, semen, and ultimately breeding ewes) to the US market. An additional 40 wethers are raised at the farm and on a Maine island for their annual wool clip, a remaining 20-30 with insufficient yield or aging out of their productive life are harvested for meat. Horses are kept for pleasure and parasite management, dogs for herding and guarding, hens for eggs. Meadowcroft contracts the wool from an additional 500 ewes, providing quality control at time of shearing. Home to Seacolors Yarnery, all wool is secured and processed within a 5 hour radius of the farm. Yarns are dyed in seawater in solar vats with food grade dyes at the farm. A recovery system recycles waste waters for surface discharge by irrigation. The Yarnery sells small batch yarns, one of a kind
sweaters, and limited edition blankets at farmers markets, wool and craft venues, online, and occasional events at the farm. Spinning, designing, dye
instruction/processing is not intended or expected in the residency, but could be offered depending on interest.

Located just off Route 17 and equidistant to Portland and Bangor, Meadowcroft is 15-30 miles to several major towns and 20 miles to the coast. This location offers market and entrepreneurial access, or many employment opportunities for off farm income.

Only 25 miles to Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s Common Ground, continuing education opportunities in agriculture, rural living and business planning are abundant through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Network.

ABOUT NANNE

Raising sheep since 1981, Nanne is committed to fiber first, with a focus on fine wool with high comfort factor, to challenge the synthetics in our wearables and
home goods. With an undergraduate from Bowdoin College in Sociology of Art and Masters studies in Agriculture and Resource Economics from the
University of Maine, Nanne has used her creative energy to rethink sheep production and reimagine fiber manufacturing in a way that optimizes the health of the animal, the fertility of the soil, the quality of the water, and maximizes carbon while lowering input expense and environmental impact.
Having trained in NZ where she went to shearing school, worked on farms and in wool sheds, learned wool classing and handling, and lived with breeders who helped start the Black and Colored Sheep Breeders Association, Nanne has a depth of knowledge and experience in Maine and away.

Developing the breed, honing knowledge of textile design, and developing the dye system has provided Nanne an opportunity to run a successful home and farm based business since 1994. Please visit www.getwool.com for more information.

Raising working dogs (and children) since 1985, and building a farm business, Nanne now has time and enough energy to help train and prepare the next generation of fiber farmers, with joy and non-violent communication.

In her spare time, Nanne likes to swim, curl, and do much needed Ag. Policy
work.

PARTIAL LIST OF INSTRUCTION AND COMPETENCIES

*Animal Husbandry
*Pasture Maintenance
*Infrastructure Development
*Risk Management
*Water Systems
*Fence Systems
*Tractor Safety
*Working dog care and training
*Rotational grazing
*Parasite Minimization

*Body Mechanics and basic leverage
*Humane Predator Controls

*Forage Stand Improvement
*Nutrient Management
*Wool handling, skirting, sorting,
grading
*Sheep skinning and hide prep for
tanning
*Breed selection/data collection
*Hoof trimming
*Lambing- care, feeding,
troubleshooting and maintenance

ALSO SEE:

Cooperative Extension: Livestock

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT NANNE KENNEDY
207.542.2587 OR EMAIL QUEEN@GETWOOL.COM