[Market-farming] Local Food

IdleThymeFarm at aol.com IdleThymeFarm at aol.com
Wed Nov 19 21:07:40 EST 2003

Shamefully, I am just now getting around to responding to this email (a bit behind I am afraid). For those who may have missed earlier posts about the struggles of small farming in Wyoming I would like to post a relevent update.

I am the only local vegetable and poultry producer anywhere near the Cheyenne area. I am surrounded by large grain farms and ranches. 

In February of this year, I began the process to register with the FSA. I have been consistently denied and put off for a number of reasons. Ignorance being the greatest of these....I have heard everything from "we do not register little hobby gardens" to "Chickens are not livestock and they do not graze". I am certified organic by OCIA (Wyomings first veggie operation to certify) and I found it interesting that according to one branch of the USDA (NOP) I was a certified organic farm but according to another branch (FSA) I was not considered a farm. I am happy to report that through the involvement of my US Senator, the University of Wyoming, the WY Director of the NRCS, and the Wyoming Business Council....the local committee of the FSA has finally recognized my operation as legitimate and I have been granted a farm number....whew! I am mainly interested in wind break assistance (this is Wyoming after all) and research funding for organics in the farm bill.

My customers happily buy everything that I can grow and raise and are not afraid to pay organic/local prices. I am in the process of converting my income to being 100% farm based and consequently am expanding my operation next season.  Just my 2 cents for what it is worth on local, sustainable agriculture here in the wilds of Wyoming. It is lonely going at it alone but I feel a battle worth fighting and a public worth educating. 

Thanks for all the support and input that I have received from this list!

Shelly Elliott
Idle Thyme Farm

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