grant request – story for a trailer

27 October 2011

One week passed our final CSA delivery. It’s been a very wet, rainy week. The mud is out again, in full force and all it’s glory. I have 250 pounds of garlic cloves ready for planting, the hay for mulching, the get-go to get at it…. and I’m waiting for the soils to dry enough. This will be the latest I have ever planted garlic for our CSA. There was once I planted garlic in late November for another farm… not something I want to do again.

I have often found myself spreading the thick straw mulch in the snow. In the spring, once snow melts, it’s often quite interesting how thick the straw might be in some spots, and how thin in others! The snow coverage can make for some disorientation, and quite a puzzle! 

The garlic clove roots out quick. Within one week it’s rooting strong. It’ll spend the fall and any warmth whatsoever growing and establishing below ground. We’ll likely see some green shoot above ground – but we want only a little. Green growth, above ground is best in the spring.

If anybody has the time and willingness, we could certainly use your help to get the garlic planted lickety-split during the next good planting window. We’d be ever thankful!

 I’ve been capitalizing on the wet soils by pretty much staying off them! I’ve been working on a grant, and getting some tax numbers around. The grant request is through Raising Organic Family Farms , which is supported by Lundberg and many others. Someone emailed someone who emailed me… and so I tried for it! It’s a story type grant request. Kind of fun to do actually. If you’re still reading this at this point, maybe you’d be interested in what I wrote:


Thank you Raising Organic Family Farms for this grant program. We appreciate the opportunity to apply for $3500 toward a livestock trailer. This will greatly support and further our success.

Swier Family Farm is single-family, small-scale, diversified, and organic. We direct market our foods and flowers in the central Michigan region. We have farmed for seven years. Our farm is small on purpose and out of necessity; as we further develop know-how, infrastructure, financing and marketing.

Four years ago we included pigs as a complement to our other farm activities and sales. This year we have two sows, one boar, and farrowed 27. We are scaling up next year. You will be supporting us in this! Our pigs are on pasture and moved as needed. This could be every three days, or once every three weeks. Our pigs work naturalized sods, woodlands, and/or glean field vegetables. We broadcast clover, oats, rye, sunflower, and/or buckwheat after each move. We turn them back on mature growths, and they hog it down again. We are building soils, pastures, and growing pork!

 We trailer our pigs to the winter barnyard in December and back out in March. (The barnyard and pastures are not contiguous.) Our winter shelter is deep-bedded, dry and draft-free. Even in the harshest of winter the pigs still venture out, exercise, eat, drink, and enjoy fresh air. Our winter barnyard is large and well protected from prevailing winds.

Your grant will allow us to stop renting or borrowing trailers many times throughout the calendar year. Our timeliness of management will be greatly improved. We will get the pig work done on our time, as needed, efficiently, well, and safely! Our infrastructure is minimal and utilitarian. The trailer will serve multiple purposes, eliminating many stationary, bulky, and expensive, single-use additions.

The trailer can meet the pigs wherever they happen to be. Alone, I can efficiently sort the pigs in-field with minimal disturbance. I can load the correct pigs, right there and then, to transport them directly to our near-by USDA, Certified Organic processor. We use a trailer as a “hospital” for castration; in harsh weather months as a secure, temporary weaning area with a run out the back; as a holding area on the days we sell feeders; and to bring home loads of certified organic feed. The trailer is perfectly mobile, secure, and easy to clean and air “rest” between uses.

When we get the grant, we can loan the trailer to other fledgling producers nearby! Thank You!

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