Today, I am asking you for a lifeline for a wonderful family, swimming in a sea of troubles not of their own making. Read more about it by clicking on this button:
Join in a Heroic Internet “Barnraising” Effort to Save a Dairy Farm!
by Kimberly Hartke
A Nebraska farm family is in the midst of a hard, cruel winter. Andy and Laura Chisholm are no strangers to adversity. They have had multiple bad breaks along the way, landlord problems, business partnerships gone awry, and even struggles with water and electrical issues on their last farm.
Andy’s wife Laura has a blood clotting disorder. The couple valiantly went through 15 pregnancies to have 5 children. Their children are now age 4.5, 7, 10.5, 12 and the eldest is 20. Their 7 year old, Laura says, “is our ‘miracle’ baby, born at 4 lbs.”
This family has toughed it out through the most extreme personal and business adversities, unimaginable to the average person. Finally, though, they may have reached the limit of what one family should have to endure.
Growing a Dairy and Overcoming Obstacles
Andy and Laura got into farming by beginning to grow their own food. It all started with chickens in their suburban backyard. They moved further and further out into the country, and their first real farm was 5 acre tract in Georgia, where they started with 1 cow, 1 pig, chickens, then added turkeys. They began a dairy business which grew to a 4 cow dairy and maxed out the 5 acres.
The Chisholm Family Farm then moved to Nebraska and entered a farm share agreement with another dairy farmer. It turned out to be a unworkable business deal for them, so they severed ties. The Chisholm Family Farm filed bankruptcy and the couple moved back to the city to start their life over again.
The Chisholm’s finally got back on their feet, and through thrift and industry saved up enough money to lease a 20 acre farm and started dairying again with 4 cows.
As their business grew they made the jump to what looked like greener pastures. They rented 40 acres from a farmer. But, a conflict arose with their landlord over how to graze the animals. They were forced, again to move on.
The resilient and determined Chisholms found a 65 acre farm for rent in Elmwood, Nebraska. With an option to rent the 25 acres across the street, which they did at the end of the 2nd year.
Their dream farm had issues, however. The land floods. Making rent was a struggle. Electrical issues kept blowing their equipment. They decided to build a micro-creamery in a trailer to help offset some of these costs.
Then, came the worst news of all. A newly installed inline milking system wasn’t cleaning properly. Tests found high levels of Barium in the water to be the culprit. Another blow to the Chisholm Family Farm enterprise.
Free Enterprise and the Toughest of Challenges
Andy and Laura stoically began to move the farm again. They found an ideal scenario. A farmer with a dream to have a creamery on his land, and the money to invest in building the needed facility. The move would double the acreage the Chisholms would have for grazing livestock and fulfill their dream of starting a Creamery. A creamery helps a dairy increase profits by selling yogurt, butter, cottage cheese.
Their new landlord gave them a budget to spend, and they hired a contractor recommended by a faithful, long term customer.
By now, the cows were supposed to be moved to a newly constructed barn. Nebraska is experiencing harsh cold weather and blustery snow storms. But, it is not just bad weather causing setbacks. It turns out, the contractor failed to deliver on his promises, he made big mistakes, plus left subcontractors unpaid.
The Chisholm Family Farm is currently paying rent on two farms, their cows are stuck on the old farm. They are living on the new one. They are stretched to the financial breaking point, with no money for hay to feed the cows.
What You Can Do to Help Chisholm Family Farm
Energy Rescue, Inc. a Nebraska 501C3 non-profit is helping to raise the needed funds to complete the Chisholm Family Farm barn raising. They have recruited volunteers, even skilled tradesman willing to donate their skills, but supplies must be purchased. Plus, your kind donation will help feed the farm animals.
Please consider a donation through Pledgie.com. Click on this button for more details:
The old adage, Into Each Life a Little Rain Must Fall, has been greatly exceeded in this case. This is an enterprising family who desire to build a profitable business to help the community and support their hard won family. If each of us gives them a helping hand, they will overcome this temporary misfortune and go on to do great things!
If you have a blog or website, please consider placing this button on your sidebar to help us reach more people with a heart for this worthy cause!
Kimberly Hartke is a featured blogger on Village Green Network.
This post is part of the Real Food Wednesday blog carnival on Kelly the Kitchen Kop!