The farm provides a variety of fresh local food to farmers’ markets, grocery stores and restaurants in the surrounding communities. Together with their three children, the Stacys grow sweet corn, popcorn, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, pumpkins, cucumbers and their renowned pick-your-own strawberries.  Truck crops (such as corn, tomatoes, cantaloupe, peppers, and squash) were the main source of income for the farm for decades. Then, in the 1990s, Bill Stacy (known as Farmer Stacy) and his wife Janet learned to grow strawberries using a method that was not common in Ohio – plasticulture. After visiting farms and talking with experts in Virginia and North Carolina, Bill and Janet, along with their children Amanda, Todd and Tyler, made their first strawberry sales in 1995 from a single acre of plants.  In 2000, the Stacy Family Farm received a Century Farm Award from the State of Ohio, and the farm  was selected as a showcase farm at the Strawberry Expo in 2007.

For years, Bill and Janet wanted to increase their production and saw an opportunity to do so when the nearby Marietta State Nursery went up for sale. All they needed was financing to help them purchase the 95 acres of land.  
 

Protecting the Land from Development, Creating New Jobs

The acreage that Farmer Stacy acquired with our help is protected from non-farm development under a land preservation agreement, and will be converted to an irrigated specialty crop production farm. Farmer Stacy’s oldest son, William, will take over the management and development of the new farmland under his parents’ supervision and will plant several acres of blueberry bushes to expand the variety of pick-your-own produce offered at the Stacy Family farm.

The farm’s new production capacity is expected to create six full-time, two part-time and 30 new seasonal jobs in the first two years of operations. 

A Timely Small Business Loan from The Conservation Fund

The Appalachian Center for Economic Networks and Rural Action referred the Stacys to the Fund’s Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF). With a $200,000 small business loan from NCIF, Farmer Stacy was able to leverage an additional $800,000 from Farm Credit Services to pay for the expansion.

Role of NCIF

NCIF partnered with Farm Credit Services to help the Stacy family purchase a 95 acre former tree nursery and convert it to irrigated production of specialty crops, primarily vegetables and fruits.  NCIF provided subordinated debt so that Farm Credit could obtain the security it needed to make its loan.

Impact

Stacy Family Farm is a major provider of fresh local food for the Marietta region, and this acquisition will allow the family to diversify its production even further.  The farm engages in agri-tourism through strawberry and pumpkin tours.  The newly purchased farm was placed under a permanent agricultural use easement upon its transfer to the Stacy family, protecting it from future non-farm development.  Two acres of the farm will continue to be used as a nursery for endangered plant species.

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