Name? Dave Semmelink
Where do you farm? Comox Valley, BC
What do you farm? Mixed Livestock, the plan is to raise pastured poultry and hogs and to experiment with growing local organic feeds for them.
What type of business structure is your farm? Sole Proprietor
What is your land tenure? Are there special relationships that allow for this? Currently an informal lease agreement, drafting a formal lease agreement to be signed at the end of summer 2015.
How did you seriously get into farming? I come from a farming background, and spent the last several years studying forestry and conservation sciences, coming to the conclusion that all I really wanted to do in life was to go back to my roots and farm a piece of land in the most sustainable manner possible. I enrolled in the UBC Farm’s practicum in Sustainable Agriculture and made some great connections which helped me secure a farm and helped formulate a business model that I’m looking to put into practice this coming summer.
Why did you apply for the YA Business Mentorship Network? I like to learn, and am always looking to expand my horizons, and make new connections.
What is the greatest business challenge you face as a young farmer? Balancing the jump into a new business as well as having to pay back massive student debt.
What are your business goals for the season? Learn my piece of land, figure out my best options for 2016 and start building portable livestock infrastructure for my pastured livestock operation.
What business tools could you not live without? Spreadsheets…
If you had a farming super power what would it be? Adding more hours to a day!
What is your favourite farm book? The farm as a natural habitat: Reconnecting foodsystems with ecosytems, edited by Dana and Laura Jackson
Another would be:
Grass, Soil, Hope: A journey through carbon country by Courtney White
And on the more practical side:
The organic grain grower by Jack Lazor
And a last thought:
Free range pig farming by Lee McCOsker
Funding for the Young Agrarians Business Mentorship Network Pilot is provided in part by Salt Spring Coffee, Vancity, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the BC Ministry of Agriculture through programs delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC.