~ Sweet Water Springs Organic Farm

This is a business owner who has reached out to Slow Money NC. 

Business Owner: Elias & Kim Humiston
Sweet Water Springs Organic Farm
Location  Roxboro, NC

Tell us your story. Who are you? What is your business idea?
I am a 51 year old Military Veteran, Honorably Discharged, who has turned to organic farming as a way of life. I started this year with 38 100′ beds. I am getting involved in community growth programs, and am also going to be offering events and classes aboard the Farm. My wife Kim and I use sustainable practices as best we can aboard our Farm, recycling, re-using, re-purposing. She is a Professional Engineer – electrical, and does a lot of work for the State of NC, and various schools, Colleges and University systems involving LEEDS, so we are working up a formal “Sustainability Plan” for our Farm and household.

Our next project is to put in one acre of strawberries this fall. Seal The Seasons. is willing to ‘contract’ with me to grow for them in the transitional section of my farm. I will also be selling in at least 3 farmers markets and to various commercial clients.

Mark Dempsey from Carolina Farm Stewardship (CFSA) has reviewed my organic growers and livestock plans, and I should receive my organic certification this month.
I am also going to be getting GAP certified shortly (this year).

I have most of the equipment already – Ford 8N and BCS tractors, cultivator, bed former, mulch layer attachments, some plastic mulch and irrigation, a well, power harrow and tiller attachments, etc. I am building a small wash station shelter, have a small greenhouse for seed starts. I have 1/2 acre (3800 feet of 30″ raised vegetable beds) in production now in the ‘organic’ section of my Farm. Also I have NOP insurance on all of my crops, and am applying today for NOP for strawberries.

Kim and I plan to grow the Farm to support a healthy-sized CSA, some agri-ed-tourism, and at least one ‘well-being’ program. I am working with a trauma-yoga instructor to begin offering FREE classes to local Military Veterans for health and well-being.

Please briefly describe your commitment to sustainable food systems in North Carolina  Kim and I are committed to utilizing local resources to support and strengthen our local Community and economy. We always shop locally-grown/produced first here in Roxboro, and then move out from there for everything that we purchase, whether it be for our household or for the Farm.

I have started a local CSA. We are committed to providing healthy, clean food and education to our community for better health, better living, and a better community.

What will your sales be? What do you anticipate your profits/your margins will look like? How will you make the money to pay this loan back?   Sales projected could be around $42,000.00 for 1 acre per season. This is according to a budget design by Olya Rysin of the Dept of Ag & Resource Economics at NC State University.
I will be selling to Seal the Seasons (who is willing to contract with me), 4 or more farmer markets, my CSA, and various other commercial clients.

Have you borrowed money before?  Yes. Earlier this year I received a USDA Micro-loan for $24000 for equipment, and $5000 for crops. I have paid back the crop loan. My equipment loan is a 7 year term, paid $2800 annually, and the balance due is still $24000, first payment due March of 2018.

Do you have people who would vouch for your credit worthiness?
Mikal or Charity at the Roxboro FSA
My BB&T bank representative
Navy Federal Credit Union
The Little Bank

Tell us about your business background.   I was in the construction industry, self-employed for about 15 years.

How much money do you need to borrow to make your project work?
[For more about this project please contact info@slowmoneync.org]

Are there other lenders involved in your project or business? The USDA. They are involved in this venture only as far as my equipment being the collateral for my micro-loan.

What is your timeline for this project?   I need to start immediately.
Sept – order plugs/amendments/equipment, bush hog/cultivate/form beds, amend beds, install irrigation and plastic mulch, plant plugs and install row cover.
Oct – Install deer fence.