The arrangement with my "dream" farm fell through. They found another farmer just a couple of days before my inquiry. While at first I was terribly disappointed (all that finger-crossing for nothing), I quickly accepted that this was not MY opportunity. A beautiful farm, full of potential, but with challenging logistics that ultimately wouldn't have been exactly what I was looking for. I need to be strong enough to not be tempted with "okay" opportunities and accept something that may not be what I'm looking for. For now, anyway, while the pressure of the growing season isn't just around the corner.
Turns out rejection, for me, is a big motivator. Rather than my usual routine of banking on one opportunity, fingers and toes crossed to their fullest extent, I made a list of small items that can help me move closer to my goal. One a day, just like a vitamin. Most of them being to spread the word that I am looking for land (to buy or lease). (Why is it so hard for me to just put myself out there?)
I applied for CT Farmlink, a state-run "online dating" service of sorts for farm seekers and farm owners. The program needs a little revitalization, but it's a list of opportunities. Even though the odds of finding a match through this system are low, all I need is one farm. One opportunity.
I also made a list of farmer friends in the area to contact and visit. People who may know people who may know an old guy with a farm who is willing to lease his land to a crazy youngin' like me. Word of mouth is still the best form of communication in the agriculture industry.
Visiting farms and looking at property helps me to get a better idea of what I'm looking for...and what I'm not. Each farm is so unique and I'm leaving my options opened. I don't have my heart set on growing a particular product just yet, or particular equipment needs. My business plan is best described as "vague." I'm just looking for property in southeastern CT, with an on-farm house, and a pretty flexible leasing arrangement (ie. not someone else dictating the business plan for me to execute). There are just as many challenges with leasing land as there are with buying (something I'll get into another day), so at this point I'm open to either. I have a small amount of savings and I feel ready to invest in this dream of mine whichever way seems better (though, we'll see how that goes when the time comes to actually write a check).
I've been "retired" for a week and a half now and couldn't be happier with my decision. I love having more time to be with family and friends and work on projects around the house. I know as more time passes this luxury of time will seem more stressful; I will put more pressure on myself to develop a concrete plan. I want this so badly. But for now, I highly recommend retiring. Just do it.
I'm also applying for part-time work to help pay my student loans and other monthly expenses without having to dip into my savings account to deeply. We'll see how it goes. I don't mind doing the work (I would enjoy having more structure to my schedule, actually), but I do want to be careful that finding a farm remains the priority. At least through the month of October. Once winter begins to set in, my plans may change depending on how everything goes. I can't believe October is only a week away.
"Wherever you go, go with all of your heart." - Confucius.