A diversified family farm featuring a year-round CSA program and thriving wholesale business, offering vegetables; eggs; grassfed beef and lamb; and pastured pork and chicken.
Hit hard by Irene, Jericho Settlers Farm lost 75% of the their fall storage vegetables to the flood, as well as livestock, equipment, animal feed, and more. They sought an Emergency Loan from the Vermont Farm Fund to pay their operating expenses and provide a positive cash flow until the next growing season.
JerChrista Alexander and Mark Fasching, husband and wife owners/farmers of Jericho Settlers farm, felt secure that their leased land in Richmond was safe from the floods predicted farther south in Vermont. They’d been watching the Montpelier hydrograph and knew their Richmond parcel hadn’t flooded since 1927. They retired that night, with only light rain at their home in Jericho, having made no preparations for what was to come.
The Winooski rose fast in the middle of the night. At 7am, the first farm worker arrived to find the entire Richmond parcel under 2-4 feet of standing water, and immediately called Christa and Mark. The couple initially believed that all of their farm animals were lost. Fortunately, all but four of the lambs had somehow made it to a higher patch of land. The pigs were not as lucky, losing 20 of their numbers to the flood waters.
Earlier that summer, Christa and Mark had used their rainy day fund to pay for a new cooler to hold their winter storage vegetables. A few days after the storm, those crops would be declared unfit for consumption by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. That’s 75% of what was to fill the new cooler and provide income to the farm over the winter.
The Bottom Line
Two weeks post Irene, Mark and Christa tallied heir equipment damage along with the loss of crops, livestock, and just about everything else on the Richmond parcel and realized they needed help. The couple applied for a VFF Emergency Loan, and were relieved to find the process very fast, simple, and straightforward.
The $10,000 check from the VFF, combined with other available community loans and a small grant, provided money for operating expenses and cash flow to see the farm through to the next growing season. Today, Jericho Settlers is back on their feet, and looking forward to building up their financial cushion to make a few more capital investments that were delayed during recovery.
Except where otherwise noted, all photos for this story were provided by Jericho Settler’s Farm..