Create a Gorgeous Farm Website With FarmPress
This is a case study interview with a recently launched Academy member’s FarmPress site. FarmPress is a WordPress theme for agriculture businesses to create a modern farm website. It is included free with a membership in the Small Farm Nation Academy. Below are screenshots of the new website along with an interview with the farm owner.
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Objectives: A modern farm website with better SEO, an online store, and a fresher design.
Small Farm Nation (SFN): When/how/why did you become a farmer? What’s your story?
Parkelm Farm (PF): “My husband and I became farmers in 2012. Neither of us grew up on farms, but he had worked on farms his whole life through family and neighbors. I went to college to become a teacher, and he obtained a humanities degree while apprenticing as a mechanic and auto restoration specialist.
After we got married we spent three years traveling and living abroad before coming back to Wisconsin. My husband had told me that he always wanted to be a farmer, but had no access to land. I was raised an environmentalist and had no interest in the poor, dirty life of a farmer; or so I thought. I don’t enjoy gardening, but I sure do love animals. And then my husband talked to me about grazing. My husband loves tractors and machinery, but through working with his uncle who had been dairy grazing since the early 90s, he learned that low-input, soil-friendly farming was a path to success for the environment, animals, and farmers.
The idea of the animals living out their instincts while creating healthier watersheds and food systems really appealed to me. Luckily my family had a farm sitting vacant which we were able to inherit. Unfortunately, it was really vacant and we had to install a driveway, well, power lines, fences, and buildings. We purchased a small herd of miniature Hereford cattle and a couple Icelandic sheep in 2012 and have been growing from there ever since.”
SFN: What are your current farm offerings?
PF: “We currently have a cow-calf-finish herd of miniature Hereford cattle of about 30 head, we have over 35 Icelandic breeding ewes, and six Large Black Hog sows. We sell grass-fed beef, grass-fed lamb, pastured pork, and a variety of Icelandic wool products processed in the fiber mill owned by my husband’s parents and handspun by me. Our goal is to get to 30 breeding cows, 100 ewes, and 10 sows.”
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SFN: How you go to market, or if you’re just starting, what customers do you hope to serve?
PF: “We sell at the Oshkosh Farmer’s Market year-round, the Green Lake Farmer’s Market in the summer, and this year we will be at the Westside Community Market in Madison for the first time. We also sell off the farm and are working on building an on-farm store this summer. We would like to establish drop sites in the Milwaukee area as well.”
SFN: What are your biggest challenges in building a successful farm business?
PF: “Access to low-interest, long-term capital to help us cover expenses and stay afloat while we grow and build infrastructure. Finding enough customers in our local area with an interest in our product. ”
SFN: What challenges were you facing with your website before switching to FarmPress?
PF: “I don’t think it was SEO optimized very well, the store functions were clunky and not ideal for our product, too busy. It was hard for people to find our products.”
What did you hope to accomplish with a new website?
PF: “Better SEO, better store, fresher design.”
What are the benefits to you of being a member of Small Farm Nation Academy?
PF: “The access to the marketing knowledge and quick, personalized help and feedback.”
Why would you recommend FarmPress & Small Farm Nation Academy to others? Or would you?
PF: “The quick help is the number one reason. The customization is second.”