Lending Successful

Baling Equipment And Farm Expansion

by Bell's Farm
Baling Equipment And Farm Expansion

Bell’s Farm is expanding acreage and buying additional equipment and livestock to grow their holistically-raised meat operation.

Project Summary
  • Location: Coupeville, WA
  • Products: Fruit & Vegetable Livestock
  • Loan Term: 78 months
  • Interest Rate: 6.25% APR
  • Repayments Begin: 6 months after disbursement
$155,000
100% of $155,000

Funded on 12/19/2021

Overview

Established in 1946, Bell’s Farm is a 65-acre, multigenerational family farm on Washington State’s Whidbey Island. Well known in the area for their sweet u-pick strawberries (and annual Strawberry Daze Festival), they also grow over 90 varieties of vegetables suited for their Pacific Northwest climate. In addition to their five-acre market garden, owners Paige Mueller and Kyle Flack holistically manage a flock of sheep, a herd of Ancient White Park cattle, and more than three-dozen hogs. 

In recent years, Bell’s Farm has transitioned from a conventional to regenerative farming operation that incorporates animal husbandry into building healthy soils for growing nutrient-rich and delicious food. Bell’s Farm is an active member of Whidbey’s agricultural scene, seeking to increase education and food security in their local Puget Sound community. They currently sell their sustainable food products through an on-site farm stand, two weekly farmers markets, local restaurants and grocery stores, a school food program, and the Whidbey Island Grown food hub.


Use of Funds

Bell’s Farm will use a loan from Steward to purchase hay baling equipment, hire a new garden manager, and expand their business by both acreage and sales channels. Their land has reached carrying capacity for the amount of livestock they currently raise. With these funds they can secure a two year land lease on 100 acres, purchase additional cattle, sheep, and hogs, and set up the infrastructure needed to grow their meat operation. The expansion also calls for additional equipment and a farm vehicle to move their livestock more efficiently. This will double their livestock operation, allowing them to increase both retail and wholesale meat orders, and provide new products that are high in demand, including whole, half, and quarter beef shares.


Regenerative & Sustainable Practices

Bell’s Farm operates with a holistic agricultural philosophy that calls for every element of the farm to work together in harmony. In practice, this looks like:

  • Holistically managing animals on the farm to fertilize the ground, turn up the soils, and promote soil health and greater biodiversity.

  • Using no synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides on their soils and produce. They test their soil twice per year to check nutrient levels and adjust their strategy to build organic matter and diversify pasture mixes.

  • Increasing local food security and alleviating hunger by donating excess produce to their local food bank and nonprofits around their Puget Sound community.

  • Offering education and outreach through agritourism, including their annual strawberry festival, regular farm tours, and u-dig potato days. They are also active in their community through the farm-to-school program, donating food for cooking classes, and advising the school farm on their practices and operations.

  • Working with the NRCS to plant douglas fir trees for windbreaks and plant native root stock in the riparian acres on the farm, including aronia berries, ornamental willows, and malus fusca (a native crab apple) grafted on commercial apple varieties.
  • December 21, 2021

    Thank You!

    Wow! We are blown away by how many people believe in our way of farming and are willing to support that journey through Steward!

    As we experience one of the wettest November and Decembers in PNW history, we are so grateful we’ll be able to purchase the baling equipment that will help our livestock business grow. Knowing we have the hay we need in the barn (harvested from our pastures and the pastures of our new leases) that is spray free and rotationally grazed will help us keep our animals healthy and give us peace of mind as we increase our livestock numbers. Our next steps will be finding the equipment we need to ensure we have it in time for haying season.

    Again we cannot thank you enough and we hope you continue to follow along with us!

This loan will be made to Bell/Mueller, LLC, a Washington limited liability company, which grows and sells produce and pasture raised meats for their local community.

This loan will be used to purchase equipment to expand their hay and livestock production, secure a lease, and hire a garden manager.

The total loan amount is $155,000 which will assist Bell’s Farm in growing and expanding their business.

This loan is set at a 6.25% interest rate, with a 78 month term, and fully amortized monthly payments beginning 6 months after funds are disbursed.


Livestock--$38,000: This includes purchasing ancient white park cattle, hogs, and sheep to expand their meat production.

Pasture Infrastructure--$7,000: This includes the materials needed to set up fencing, water, and shade cover on their new pasture.

Equipment--$43,000: This includes a farm utility vehicle as well as a round baler and bale squeeze to expand hay production. 

Labor--$45,000: This includes hiring a full time garden manager to manage the market garden. 

Land Lease--$22,000: This includes securing a two year lease on 100 acres of land adjacent to their current operation. 

Total Budget - $155,000


Lender Participation Agreement Download
Borrower Loan Agreement Download

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