Making Farming a Reality – NC Farm School Stories
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Husband and wife team, Stacy and Brent Bradford wanted to raise their children with healthier food choices and a farming lifestyle and so, began their tentative foray into backyard gardening. After years of backyard gardening and two cows on their friend’s property, they decided to commit. What does commitment look like? 90 acres. Welcome to B & B Farm.
Stacy and Brent Bradford enrolled in NC Farm School when they decided to make their intentions real. They wanted to raise their family on a farm, provide for their community and teach not just their own children but others about sustainable farming, food quality and to share their love for the outdoors. B & B Farm has become this community gathering place.
At NC Farm School, their farm vision was guided through a business lens. Stacy explained, “We learned how to track expenses and how to put a price on items you’re selling. I learned that it is important to have a business plan with defined roles.
Defining farm roles has been critical because B & B Farm is actually managed by two families. The Bradford’s and their neighbors, the Bradley’s combined their farm land and merged their resources to form B & B Farm. The two families oversee the management of the farm and both their families are very much involved.
B & B Farm expanded into an agritourism operation by opening up a pumpkin patch to the community, welcoming visitors to learn more about their farm. They added amenities to complement the pumpkin patch such as hay rides, a corn pit, animal viewing areas, a farm-themed playground and a family picnic area. The pumpkin patch provides a platform to draw in the community, through which B & B Farm introduces their core farming business of raising pasture-raised Black Angus beef. The same high quality beef they raise for their own families, they now offer to the community.
As farmers, the Bradfords have steadfast goals, “Preserve the farming trade for future generations; educate others about sustainable farming and,” Stacy added pragmatically, “Make a profit enough to pay for the land, the house, as well as the equipment.” Ultimately, the Bradford’s derive an authentic joy from farming. “[Farming], its hard. You better love it,” advised Stacy to those who are thinking about farming. “I like knowing that we are providing for others and seeing the progress we are making.” With each achievement on their farm, the Bradford’s are enjoying the fruits of their labor.