Ep 89. Collin Thompson on Efficient, Strategic, and Multi-Faceted Farming

How do you create a farm that focuses on efficiency and quality?

We’re joined today by Collin Thompson, of Willowsford Farm in Ashburn, Virginia. Willowsford’s mission is to grow both food and community, connecting families in NoVa directly to their food source. Originally from the fertile land of northeastern Iowa, agriculture has always been a passion of Collin’s. Though he wasn’t raised on a farm, he has spent over a decade refining his production and management skills on a variety of farm operations. Before Willowsford, Collin built and managed a diversified organic vegetable farm in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where he tested the limits of organic vegetable production in extreme northern climates and learned to farm in areas with short growing seasons, cold winters, and substantial snowfall. Join us today to learn all about Willowsford Farm’s operations and Collin’s unique farming journey!

In This Episode:

What Willowsford Farm does 1:10

About the financial structure of Willowsford Farm 4:48

About Collin’s background in the farming community 8:03

What kind of soil is found on Willowsford Farm 15:58

What kind of equipment is used on the farm 16:42

What their irrigation setup looks like 24:33

About the advantages row cover winders bring to their operation 26:33

How harvesting with a conveyor working for Willowsford 29:59

About cover crop crimping for strip tillage 33:35

What kinds of livestock Willowsford deals with 41:18

How they manage mites 48:26

How Collin makes sure vital tasks are managed day to day 49:24

The hardest thing Collin has done as a farmer 52:28

Who Collin’s mentors were throughout his farming journey 55:34

How Collin divides roles on the farm 1.04:37

How Collin finds good help 1.07:59

How Willowsford Farm approaches marketing 1.10:43

The biggest mistake Collin sees new farmers making 1.16:50

What Collin feels new farmers should avoid during their first year 1.20:40

About Collin’s favorite farming tool 1:32:13

Why starting a farm now is (or isn’t) the way to go 1.33:01

Where you can learn more about Collin and Willowsford Farm 1.34:06

About the Guest

Collin is the farm manager of Willowsford Farm, a diversified farm that is the heart of the Willowsford Agrihood in northern Virginia. With his team, he raises 20 acres of certified organic produce, heritage pork, and pastured eggs for a CSA program, an on-site farmstand, and local wholesale partners.

He has worked in agriculture for a decade – as a farmer, educator, researcher, and builder – fine tuning his production skills, while also gaining perspective on the local and regional food movement and how it fits into the larger agricultural landscape.

Resources and mentions

Website – www.willowsfordfarm.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/willowsfordfarm/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/willowsfordfarm/

And if you want to keep the conversation going, join us in our Facebook Group to connect with us and other farmers looking to grow their business!

We also have six free eguides to help you be more effective on your farm (Winter Growing, Pastured Poultry, Washing Shed Efficiency, Profitable Farmers Toolkit, what to look for in a farm property, etc), which you can download here.