Thriving Farmer Case Study: Peaceful Heart Farm

Thriving Farmer Case Study: Peaceful Heart Farm

These farmers have got a peaceful, easy feeling!

Scott and Melanie Hall met in 1999 in western North Carolina and become life-long friends. They apprenticed together at a spiritual training center learning how to teach a meditation technique. That is where they developed a deep desire to be close to the land. While apprenticing, they dreamed of a sustainable farm and producing good food as close to nature’s intended way as possible. 

In the summer of 2003 they bought property in southwest Virginia. Their first experience with livestock was in 2006, when they built Salatin-style chicken tractors and raised about a hundred chickens for themselves and friends.

But then they took a long and winding journey before starting a farm, as they describe on their beautiful website. Their lives and jobs took them between Texas, South Carolina and Virginia, which took a stressful toll.

“Five years later I was stressed beyond my capacity to remain sane,” Melanie says. “I needed a nest. For the final two years of working in Beaufort, we rented an apartment. Moving from 100 square feet to over 1,000 square feet of living space was just enough happiness to get me through it. In the end, even that wasn’t enough and we decided to make the leap to full-time homesteaders.” 

In 2011 they got their first cows, as Melanie wanted to try her hand at cheese making. They settled on the Normande breed of cows and dreamed of starting a creamery.

“At first we followed Joel Salatin’s writings and decided to give that a try,” Melanie says. “It fit our image of a peaceful life. We started with chickens and immediately moved to lamb, then cheese. We’ve changed a lot over the years. It has been a great journey. Glad we tested several enterprises over many years before committing to cheesemaking.”

Today, Peaceful Heart Farm sells raw milk via herdshares while Scott tirelessly labors over construction of the creamery. But, even though they both work hard in their farming business, they weren’t always working “on” their farming business.

“Before joining Small Farm Nation Academy our biggest challenge by far was developing the proper state of mind as an entrepreneur,” Melanie said. Understanding the best way to market a small farm business. Properly using a website to build the business. How to build our email list. But the video courses in the Academy covered all my questions and much, much more that. Things I hadn’t even thought about.

In 2020, Scott and Melanie utilized Small Farm Nation’s web design resources to launch their new website, along with a new logo and branding. The site is SEO-optimized and has an online store where they can sell cheese and sign-up new herdshare members.

But there is still work to do in order to get the farm where Scott and Melanie want it.

Melanie says, “The most challenging thing has been setting aside time to focus specifically on marketing. I wish I had worked on developing and maintaining the entrepreneurial mindset from the start. But Tim has tremendous business experience which he applied to his own farm business. His wisdom as it relates to building a small business with a farm focus is in a class of its own.”

Small Farm Nation designs and
hosts custom websites with online stores
for farmers. Our web designs meet the needs of each individual farm.

Small Farm Nation Academy offers
online farm marketing courses that help
farmers to master marketing and increase profitability.

Thriving Farmer Case Study: Rolling Hills Cattle Company

Thriving Farmer Case Study: Rolling Hills Cattle Company

Abandoned cart numbers decline by 80%!

The mother and daughter team of Christina and Hailey operate two farm businesses in Minnesota.

“We named our farm Rolling Hills Cattle Company,” Christina said. “And we call our meat business Grillin Meats. The beautiful rolling hills of our property made our name easy. Everyone loves to grill, so Grillin Meats fit really well!”

At the ripe age of 2, Christina’s family made the move to her great-grandparent’s house to live. Part of the privilege of being next door to grandpa’s farm was being able to go with her dad to the farm to help feed the calves.

So Christina grew up on a dairy farm and you could say that farming is in her blood. But, rather than running a dairy farm, Rolling Hills Cattle Company has the oldest herd of 100% Minnesota Bred British White Cattle.

Christina says she has really enjoyed developing a line of beef cattle after growing up in the dairy business. Today, she and Haily offer commercial and registered British White Beef cattle & semen to other farmers. But that’s not all Rolling Hills offers.

“We offer AGA Certified Grassfed and finished British White beef cattle as our main product,” Christina says. “But we also raise Mangalitsa hogs, and a wide variety of poultry, hair sheep, and eggs.”

Like mom, Hailey has had the privilege of growing up on the ranch. She started her micro-farm with chickens when she was 12. Hailey manages the ranch when Christina is away at the farmer’s market, making deliveries or taking care of ranch business.

While Christina certainly knows farming and has been around it her whole life, farm marketing and technology…well…that was another matter.

“Before joining Small Farm Nation Academy …believe it or not, I couldn’t figure out how to add a contact-us page. Or an email sign-up form. So I was struggling with technology!”

Christina says the biggest problem she and Hailey struggle with is finding time to get it all done, something every farmer can relate to. But these awesome “Farm-Hers” love what they’re doing.

“I wish we had started 10 years sooner. I had no idea what we were missing out on!” Christina added.

Christina created two websites with the help of Small Farm Nation, one for each of her farming businesses. And it has really helped her and Haily spend more time as “Ranch-Hers,” which is what they love.

“The lessons on the small farm nation program and emails have helped us refine our website and get our “abandoned cart” numbers to drop by 80%. The Small Farm Nation websites are affordable and in the long run a much better bargain than other platforms without extra fees.”

Small Farm Nation designs and
hosts custom websites with online stores
for farmers. Our web designs meet the needs of each individual farm.

Small Farm Nation Academy offers
online farm marketing courses that help
farmers to master marketing and increase profitability.

Thriving Farmer Case Study: Rolling Hills Cattle Company

Thriving Farmer Case Study: Kirkwood Heritage

These farmers got marketing guidance for their rare and endangered heritage livestock breed business

Seth and Stephanie Furches are the newly married husband and wife team behind the exciting farm business of Kirkwood Heritage. While they may be recently married, Seth is far from new to farming.

Seth grew up in a farming family and ran some of his own animals on the family farm. When Seth started dating Stephanie, they knew farming was in their future. Stephanie grew up in the country but never farmed. Now, she loves the animals and the lifestyle!

“I’m an 8th generational farmer, but we recently got hitched, and bought a farm together,” Seth explained. “Being our second marriage, and wanting to do something new and special with this small farm, we decided to specialize in rare and endangered heritage livestock breeds, of which Seth has some experience. So in several ways, this farm is a second chance or a chance for Redemption. Several springs are on the farm, as well as an 1800’s springhouse, so the name just came together. Ephesians 1:7”

The farm Seth is referring to is Redemption Springs, one of a few farm businesses that Seth is intimately involved with. But Seth came to Small Farm Nation looking for a state-of-the-art website for his newest farming enterprise, Kirkwood Heritage. Kirkwood works with partner farms and markets a meat CSA to customers in the counties around Baltimore, Maryland. There, they specialize in rare endangered breeds, to bring awareness and help these unique genetics and tastes survive in our current age of mass farming and hybridized breeds. Seth and Stephanie have Red Devon beef, Red Waddle pork, Bourbon Red Turkey, and a variety of Heritage Chicken breeds.

Before coming to Small Farm Nation, Seth says his biggest farm marketing challenges were with online marketing, websites, and social media.

“I have never had a truly professional website,” Seth explained. “And I had issues with other companies that promised professional website design but couldn’t deliver. I’ve never had any guidance on marketing strategies other than companies selling direct marketing ads.”

Seth was referred to Small Farm Nation by another Small Farm Nation client. Shortly thereafter, Seth was able to not only launch a slick new website for Kirkwood Heritage, but he was also able to take down two other websites he was paying for and incorporate those into the Kirkwood Heritage site.

“The biggest thing that has already been helpful is the advice and experience,” Seth says. “Tim has offered his time and advice to help us get started and moving in the correct direction with online sales and marketing. The website he created is beautiful and exactly what we were looking for. Tim has helped set us on a path where our time, a valuable but unquantifiable resource, is most effectively allocated.”

Small Farm Nation designs and
hosts custom websites with online stores
for farmers. Our web designs meet the needs of each individual farm.

Small Farm Nation Academy offers
online farm marketing courses that help
farmers to master marketing and increase profitability.

Thriving Farmer Case Study: Rolling Hills Cattle Company

Thriving Farmer Case Study: Longbottom Farm

These Virginia farmers mastered farm marketing. Now, online sales make up HALF of their business!

Jason & Lexi Feyerherd are the dynamic duo living their farm dream at Virginia’s Longbottom Farm. But not long ago they were living a different dream…the typical “suburban dream.” As Lexi describes on their beautiful website, “We had a growing family in a wonderful neighborhood, with good schools, nearby amenities and all the Netflix our wi-fi could handle. It was a wonderful life, but something was missing. Little did we know that a seed had been planted in both of our hearts. And what started as a spark of desire to move to the country, grew into a full-fledged passion for farming. There were many factors at play, but ultimately the desire to responsibly raise safe, nutritious food was the reason we started our small family farm. When we purchased our property, it was advertised with 30 acres of bottomland with a long river frontage. The name Longbottom Farm just jumped out at us.”

Their farm encompasses 55 acres, located along the James River in Scottsville, Virginia. In the past, the land had been used for cattle and pork production, wood milling, and most recently corn and soybean farming. The land needed tender loving care, and livestock was a great way to heal the land. Now, chickens are rotated around the farm, fertilizing the soil while producing some of the best free-range eggs available. The cattle mow and fertilize the fields, which nourish the pastures that in turn nourish the cattle.

Today, Longbottom’s products include grass-fed/grass-finished beef, pastured pork, and fresh eggs from pasture-raised hens.

So, why did Jason and Lexi engage with Small Farm Nation?

“How to market online was our biggest challenge,” Lexi explained. “Learning copywriting skills, building email lists, branding, and engaging our customers online. Farmers Markets have been a large part in growing our farm, but online sales now make up half of our revenue and continue to grow.”

Like so many farmers, it was a passion for the lifestyle that led Jason and Lexi to farming. And they have taken to it with a vengeance. But if there are no customers to buy the farm products, profitable farming can instead be a money-sucking hobby. So they decided to invest in learning the critical marketing skills they needed to ensure their farm would thrive financially.

“The Small Farm Nation Academy courses did a great job in teaching us how to brand, how to convert social media likes into website traffic, and how to be engaging with our customers through emails and social media,” Lexi said. “The forums are also a great resource for knowledge as well as to interact with other farmers building their farm businesses.”

Small Farm Nation designs and
hosts custom websites with online stores
for farmers. Our web designs meet the needs of each individual farm.

Small Farm Nation Academy offers
online farm marketing courses that help
farmers to master marketing and increase profitability.

Thriving Farmer Case Study: Rolling Hills Cattle Company

Thriving Farmer Case Study: Restoration Acres

After ditching Wix to create a much better farm website, these awesome farmers began mastering farm marketing

Rachel and Matthew Palma are the can-do farmers behind Virginia’s Restoration Acres, a farm with the tagline “Food that Restores.” Their passion through our regenerative farming practices is to see restoration happen to our earth and ecology, to the health and well being of those who consume their products, to the animals they raise, and ultimately in our community and their food and farming systems. They may be farmers now. But like many of us, they didn’t grow up that way.

“We were both raised in the city with no family history of farming,” Rachel says. “Matt has always had a love for the outdoors but was told as a teenager that he was “too smart to farm” after expressing a mild interest in it. Two years into our marriage we came across a documentary about regenerative farming called “Fresh.” We were instantly hooked and immediately delved into all things farming. Almost one year later we began an 8-month apprenticeship at a well-established farm in Virginia where we got the vital hands-on experience we desperately needed. We have now been farming for a total of seven years, 6 of those being with our own farm business.”

Restoration Acres produces and sells pastured chicken and pastured pork. Customers can buy it in their slick online store, and choose one of many dropsite/pick-up locations in the Lynchburg/Roanoke area.

Rachel explains why they engaged with Small Farm Nation.

“Our big challenge was digital marketing. We thankfully established a good customer base from the get go by utilizing a year-round farmers market in our area. We’ve shown up nearly every Saturday for the past six years and have been able to build relationships with our customers that way. However, our website, which was done by us through a free version of Wix, was in desperate need of help for many years. We were so focused on the farming side of things and although we knew the importance of digital marketing we never made it a priority. It was challenging to rationalize making time for marketing when we were so enveloped in day-to-day farm chores and trying to grow our business the way we knew how.”

But, after finding the Small Farm Nation podcast, a fire was lit. Rachel and Matthew realized they had to give farm marketing the attention it needed.

Small Farm Nation really helped us prioritize our marketing strategies,” Rachel explained. “Not only were we able to build a professional, user-friendly website for our farm using Small Farm Nation, we also learned the value in email marketing. Until listening to Tim’s podcasts and becoming members of the Small Farm Nation Academy, we never knew how important email list building and email marketing were. Thanks to the videos and resources in the Academy we have successfully streamlined all of our digital marketing avenues to point to our website which then points people to signup to our email list. This has made communication to our hundreds of customers much more efficient, ultimately turning them into raving fans and loyal customers.”

When asked what they see as the most challenging part of running a profitable farm business, and what she wishes they would have focused on earlier, Rachel had this to say:

“If we could start over, I would build a professional website from the start to make finding us, ordering product, and staying connected easier for our customers. As the marketing manager of our farm, I found it very challenging to constantly receive emails, texts, and phone calls from customers who had very basic questions that would have been easily answered had we been clearly communicating via our website and regular farm emails. Since we have streamlined all of our communication and marketing channels into a simple and efficient system, I have found myself having time to do the more important work of creating relevant content for our customers, filling and delivering orders, and the hundreds of other tasks our farm business requires of me.”

Small Farm Nation designs and
hosts custom websites with online stores
for farmers. Our web designs meet the needs of each individual farm.

Small Farm Nation Academy offers
online farm marketing courses that help
farmers to master marketing and increase profitability.

Thriving Farmer Case Study: Rolling Hills Cattle Company

Thriving Farmer Case Study: Eden Creamery

A family of scientists turned cheesemakers!

Cassie and Asaf are the farmers behind Eden Creamery, just outside of Boise, Idaho.

“We’re a couple of scientists turned cheese makers,” Cassie says. “I guess you could call us “Curd Nerds.”

Asaf is Israeli and settled on Eden Creamery as the farm’s name, after the Garden of Eden. There, he and Cassie raise a rare breed of goats, the beautiful Oberhasli.

Their farm is a full-circle operation, where they rear and milk goats and make handmade farmstead cheese in their Grade-A, ISDA Certified creamery.

“We’re proudly raising a ton of kids,” Cassie says. “Well…we’re raising four of the human kind and an ever-increasing number of the goat kind.”

But Cassie says that getting into farming wasn’t a long, strategic discussion. Rather, it just sort of…happened.

“It happened kind of by accident. Cheesemaking was a hobby that got out of control.”

Like many farmers, it was the love of the farming enterprise that attracted Cassie and Asaf. Whether it’s growing vegetables and fruit or tending to livestock or, in their case, making cheese, farmers often get hooked on the “farm work.” But, once they turn that into a business, they quickly discover they must focus on marketing if they want their farm to thrive. Because effective marketing is what allows a farmer to find and attract loyal customers.

“Marketing, marketing, marketing is the most challenging part of running a profitable farm business,” Cassie says. “I wish we would have understood that and focused on it earlier.”

Fortunately, Cassie found Small Farm Nation Academy in 2018 and has been a member since.

“The help with website design, video courses and the online community are the biggest reasons I’d recommend Small Farm Nation Academy,” Cassie says. “I’ve also taken advantage of the one-to-one coaching with Tim when needed, and it’s nice to know there’s coaching there whenever I need it.”

Small Farm Nation designs and
hosts custom websites with online stores
for farmers. Our web designs meet the needs of each individual farm.

Small Farm Nation Academy offers
online farm marketing courses that help
farmers to master marketing and increase profitability.

Small Farm Nation creates beautiful farm websites and offers online farm marketing courses that help farmers grow profitable farm businesses.