Batcrow Farms Follows a Dream

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Derrick and Daughter

Derrick Sides grew up on a farm and has a love of the land and agriculture but his perspective is unique. Having been an artist and involved in local government he decided to try his hand at creating a farm where he could have part time work and income that would lead to something bigger. He even decided to name his family venture after a name his daughter used while she was playing one day. Derrick recalled that she was on the swing set laughing and saying she was flying like a “batcrow.” While the name of the farm has a wonderfully playful story Derrick Sides is serious about his farm producing enough income for a full time position on the farm. He is also passionate about local food and local economy; “There is a lot of food out there that people can eat…but when you eat something that was raised locally [you] help support not only the local farmer but all the other businesses that are involved in the local economy, as well as supporting the local land.”

Derrick is known around town for his expensive chicken. He said “A guy came up to me randomly one day and asked me, “your that guy with the expensive chicken right?”” Though others might think it is expensive Derrick charges based on his cost of production for an excellent product. Just one of the lessons he learned while he was attending NC Farm School in 2014 while trying to overcome the challenges he faced trying to make his dreams a reality. Derrick says, “The biggest challenge was knowing where to begin [because] there are so many things to consider when starting a venture like this.” Derrick also talked about being in a place as a new farmer where you don’t know all of the answers and not knowing all of the problems.

NC Farm School helped Derrick overcome these challenges by providing a knowledge base and exposing him to other farmers who were already farming showing him that it was possible to get to where he wanted to go. Derrick said, “NC Farm School was great in that….we got to see farms at different scales, different shapes, different sizes and for us having the visual…really helped us take those first steps.” The mission of NC Farm School is to increase the number successful and sustainable farms in North Carolina by helping others take those first steps.

If you are ready to take those first steps too visit our website at or sign up to get an application at Also, Check out Batcrow farms at

Written By

Photo of Derek Washburn, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDerek WashburnNC Farm School Associate (919) 515-4614 dawashbu@ncsu.eduAgricultural & Resource Economics - NC State University
Updated on Aug 19, 2016
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