Effort underway to save Rowan County farm - | WBTV Charlotte

Effort underway to save Rowan County farm

Source: Mary L Farm Source: Mary L Farm

Family and friends associated with a Rowan County dairy farm are now engaged in a fund raising effort to save that farm.

Members of the Parker family, who operate the Mary L farm, issued this appeal:

We are a small 5th generation family farm in Rowan County.  Our family had to declare bankruptcy and were unable to fulfill those obligations and are now going to lose our farm and our home.  We have been through some trying times since we invested in updating our farm buildings and equipment to increase efficiency and cow comfort. The milk price we receive is controlled by the mega food industry and we have absolutely no control over milk prices at any time- as is for all dairies. Our parents have done their best in times that were very difficult, as their pay price shrunk, they were forced to declare bankruptcy and fell behind in payments.

We have been in the process of starting a cheese operation and bottling milk on our farm. Our current financial situation makes this difficult. We acquired our cheese equipment as a result of a cost share grant but we are still in need of  pasteurization equipment for the bottling operation.

We are currently at a standstill due to financial constraints. The bank has called our loan and we have limited time to pay the note. This farm has been in our family for going on six generations. Our parents goal has always been to keep our farm diverse so that after we finished college if we wanted to return the opportunity would exist to continue farming. We love this old place, it's both our home and our livelihood. This farm is home to dairy cows, chickens, turkeys, and our future. It is a beautiful, peaceful place made from the sweat of our family's brow.

Our grandfather was a child when he began milking cows as an eighth grade FFA project. He started with just two cows and a bull. He carried the milk to the highway every single day in buckets and left it for Carnation Milk to pick up. His father saw the dairy as a viable option on the farm so he helped him purchase more cows, thus creating our dairy farm.

Our grandparents milked together in our milking parlor for as long as they were able. They worked their fingers to the bone to make sure they were stewards of the land they owned and loved. They worked very hard to keep the farm in business and it breaks our hearts to know we might fail in their legacy. With so few small family farms left in this country, we cannot bear to lose ours as well.

It is increasingly difficult for farms to exist in the US as competition for land and resources is growing rapidly. If you look around, you will see empty dairy parlors and skeletons of barns and farms speckled across our country. There used to be so many and now there are so few. Many people are only a generation or two removed from a farming background, and there is no better place to raise a family.

We ask for your help to keep our farm from becoming another housing development. Please help us to continue farming the land that we love to raise quality products as a family effort. Without your help,  there is no light at the end of the tunnel for us. God has blessed our family with this farm and we pray that you will consider helping us. We are in a unique position to learn from our grandparents and our parents, their successes and their failures, as well as collaborate with our siblings' strengths to create a sustainable food system for the future. Our ultimate goal is to provide local quality milk, cheese, proteins and vegetable products to our community so that they may support local and know where their food comes from.

Any donation, no matter how small, would be greatly appreciated. We cannot thank you enough.

The family has created a page for donations: https://www.gofundme.com/gg-help-us-save-mary-l-farm

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