Current Projects

Flindt Family FarmFlint Family Farm grows a variety of vegetables which they sell at the Berea Farmer’s Market.  In addition to the typical vegetables, they also sell eggs, honey and several varieties of heirloom beans.  They have planted a large berry patch and plan to expand into strawberries, raspberries and other type berries next season.  The SOAR Farm Loan of $5,383 will be used to construct a new high tunnel greenhouse.


Sustainable BereaBerea Urban Farm is a program of Sustainable Berea, Inc., a 300 member non-profit established in 2006 with the mission of promoting projects and educational programs to create more resilient households, neighborhoods and communities.  The farm is located on a 1.4-acre tract near Berea College.  Berea Urban Farm produces many items, including a variety of vegetables and herbs, potatoes, berries, honey eggs and a small orchard.  Food produced is sold both to the public and the Sustainable Berea members. The $7,500 SOAR Farm Loan will be used as partial financing for a new $15,000 environmentally controlled 15’x40’ greenhouse.

Four Petal FarmFour Petal Farm is operated by Cathy and John Rehmeyer in Banner, Kentucky in Floyd County.  They grow Elder flowers and other botanicals that can be used to flavor simple syrups.  In addition to growing botanicals, the Rehmeyer’s grow salad greens, lettuces, broccoli, basil, radishes, beets and other root crops.  Their customers are local restaurants for bulk product and the University of Pikeville for pre-packaged salads.  The farm is working to being certified organic. With the $7,500 SOAR Farm loan, Four Petals Farm will renovate an existing building into a vegetable processing center with a triple basin sink, chest freezer, refrigerators and insulated storage room. 

Sheryl Seth Long 1Sheryl & Seth Long are residents of Letcher County who have begun to produce maple syrup on their 50-acre farm outside Whitesburg. In early January 2017, the Longs made a commitment to increase their maple syrup production so it can become a commercial venture. It takes on average 43 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.  The Longs have 102 taps in place and plan to grow to 500 taps over the next two years.  The $7,500 SOAR Farm Loan will be used to purchase an evaporator and other equipment necessary for commercial maple syrup production. 


Julie and Chad MashburnJulie & Chad Mashburn farm 23-acres along the South Fork of the Kentucky River.  The Mashburns have raised six hogs for the past three years and would like to add four cattle to the farm.  With the SOAR Farm Loan of $7,500, the couple will a 20’x40’ wooden building for animal shelter and equipment storage.  They will also improve fencing and run a water line.

The Fruit MarketCynthia Record is the owner of The Fruit Market in Russell Springs.  located on U.S. 127, the outlet consists of a sizable fresh fruit and produce retail store, and includes a restaurant that is open for lunch.  The Fruit Market is also a wholesale distributor of fresh produce to stores and institutions in the area.  Clients for The Fruit Market include school systems, hospitals, other distributors and retail outlets.  Some of the produce for wholesale business is grown by Record Farms and some is purchased and re-sold.  The proceeds of the $7,500 SOAR Farm Loan will be used to expand the outside retail area.


Jason Montgomery

Jason Montgomery is a cattle farmer in the Tyner community of Jackson County who farms approximately 80-acres which he owns.  On the farm Mr. Montgomery keeps 20-50 head of cattle.  He breeds some or buys cow/calf pairs or calves.  His goal right now is not so much to grow the herd but to improve the farm in preparation to being able to handle more cows.  In order to do this, he needs to make improvements to his barn, upgrade his equipment storage building and his hay shed, extend and improve some fencing for more pasture, and make soil enhancements.  The $7,500 SOAR Farm Loan will help him accomplish this.

Lazy Eight Stock FarmBryce Baumann and his family operate Lazy Eight Stock Farm (, a 420-acre Certified Organic farm located in both Garrard and Madison Counties.  The farm began operation in 1947 primarily as a cattle and tobacco operation but converted to organic in 2012.  Lazy Eight operates a large CSA program, sells at five area farmer’s markets, supplies a number of retail outlets with organic produce, and is one of two select providers for the University of Kentucky’s Bluegrass Harvest program.  The $7,500 SOAR Production Loan will be used to purchase a boom sprayer to efficiently spray foliar amendments to certified organic crops and for a plastic mulch layer to decrease weed pressure on early spring crops.

Preston JonesPreston Jones land his family farm on 13-acres in the Baxter community of Harlan County.  On the farm, he primarily produces vegetables and sorghum sold through a variety of outlets.  Mr. Jones is also the Grow Appalachia coordinator for Harlan County, working for the Pine Mountain Settlement School.  The Jones’ plan to expand their mix of vegetable, mushrooms, medicinal plants and sorghum production, increasing to 4-acres.  The $7,500 SOAR Production Loan will financing a walk-behind tractor and other equipment in order to accomplish this.

Mark GumbertSolidago Bistro( is a new Farm-to-Table restaurant being opened in Paint Lick by Mark Gumbert.  The restaurant will serve meals prepared from locally-grown products.  Sources of product will include those grown by Solidago at the Denny House B&B across the road ( and from other growers in the vicinity.  Although one is planned, Paint Lick does not yet have a sewer system.  Solidago Bistro and the health department have agreed that an interim solution will be to install two 2,000 gallon holding tanks for wastewater.  The wastewater will then be pumped out and properly disposed.  The SOAR Farm Loan proceeds of $7,500 will be partial financing for the system.


Renee and Eric BowdenRenee & Eric Bowden live on a 4+ acre farm in Jackson County.  The primary product for the Bowden’s is sheep.  They currently have 60 sheep, including 15 newborns.  The sheep are primarily sold to a restaurant owner who then uses them on his menu or resells the sheep to families wishing to serve lamb on religious holidays.  With the $7,500 in funds from the SOAR Small Farm Loan, the Bowden’s plan to purchase a Quonset hut for a greenhouse, equipment and other items to grow herbs and vegetables.  The outlet for the products grown will be both to restaurants where they already have connections and farmer’s markets in Jackson, Madison and Laurel Counties.  

Paq Mule InnovationsBenny Brown founder of Paq-Mule Innovations, LLC ( , has developed a system for removal of chickens which have died in commercial poultry chicken houses. The system will shorten the typical time to remove the chickens from 6-hours per day to less than two hours.  The system is a conveyor attached to the roof of the poultry house that follows the worker and is directed by a hand-held remote control.  As the bird is removed, it is placed in a large stainless steel basket that the worker brings along with him on the conveyor.  By doing this, the worker can make one round trip through the house rather than the 50+ they currently make on a typical day.  The $7,500 SOAR Farm Loan will be used to finalize the proto-type and complete the patent process. KHIC has also lent Paq-Mule $200,000 to begin manufacturing the product. 

Kenny WarfieldKenny Warfieldfarms 17-acres in the Girdler community of Knox County where he currently raises 11 cows.  He has been a small farmer all his life and would like to expand his cattle operation.  In order to grow the business and purchase additional cows, he needs to install additional fencing and build a hay storage area.  He estimates this will cost about $4,000.  With any of the $7,500 in SOAR Small Farm Loan funds remaining, Mr. Warfield will purchase more cows.


Barry GregoryBarry Gregory is a long-time vegetable farmer in Wayne County who sells through the local farmer’s markets, directly from the farm and to local retail outlets.  From his 45-acre farm, Mr. Gregory has a focus on tomatoes, growing both in greenhouses and in the field.  In early 2015, Mr. Gregory had three of his greenhouses collapse during the heavy snowfall.  With the proceeds of the $7,500 loan from the SOAR Small Production Loan program, Barry Gregory will rebuild the three greenhouses and make other improvements.


Meridzo CenterMeridzo Center, (, founded by Lonnie and Belinda Riley in Lynch, Kentucky, is a faith-based community initiative which carries out its mission through a variety of programs.  For the past several years, the Meridzo Center has been researching the production of shitake mushrooms and other products as part of their business and community mission.  The products will be sold in local markets and grocery stores in Harlan, Letcher and adjacent counties.  The Meridzo Center has been working with Circle C Farms in Webster, Florida on developing a Controlled Environment Production System (CEPS).  The system provides for the production of shitake mushrooms on rotating logs; for hydroponic production of vegetables; and, for the production of fodder/feed for livestock.  The SOAR Farm Loan of $7,500 will be used to purchase materials, obtain logs, buy mushroom spores, purchase water tanks and for working capital.


David FoxDavid Fox is a retired Whitley County teacher who has been growing product for sale for a number of years at three farmer’s markets, a roadside stand and directly from the 55-acres he farms.  Mr. Fox will use the $7,500 SOAR Farm Loan to clear additional acreage so that he can vary the location of the vegetables he grows so he can better control moisture, install more fencing for animal control, rework a pond and purchase additional equipment.


Becky MahonBecky Mahon is farmer near Owingsville in Bath County who farms approximately 50-acres.  Ms. Mahon is a native of Bath County who has been farming all of her life.  Currently her primary products are a variety of vegetables which she sells at the Bath County and neighboring farmer’s markets.  There is no one in the Bath County region that is producing maple syrup or sorghum and Ms. Mahon feels like there is a good opportunity to add these items to her product mix.  The farm has adequate maple trees and her husband and three children will help with the effort.  The $7,500 SOAR Farm loan will be used to purchase maple syrup production equipment and convert a portion of a barn into a sugar house.


Derek JohnsonDerek Johnson is young farmer in Johnson County who grew up on his family farm.  He owns 14-acres and leases another 200-acres.   He presently has twelve cows on his land and plans to grow his herd.  Derek has always worked in his family’s cattle business which at one time had about 400 head.  Derek will use the $5,000 SOAR Farm Loan to expand his feeder calf operation, growing them through the summer, and selling the cows when he feels the market is right.  Derek sold his cattle in mid-2017, repaid his SOAR loan and then borrowed $7,500 more to continue to build his herd.


Ron HowardRon Howard is a cattle farmer near Salyersville in Magoffin County who farms approximately 35-acres which he owns.  Mr. Howard attended one of the KCARD financing sessions in Salyersville in late November in which KHIC participated.  It is there where he learn about the SOAR Farm Loan program.  With the $7,500 SOAR Farm Loan, Mr. Howard will purchase a round baler for his hay and upgrade his tractor by installing remote hydraulics.  He feels this will make his operation more efficient and be much easier to manage feeding.

Southdown FarmSouthdown Farm is  a 53-acre farm operated by Sheryl & Seth Long and their daughter Hannah.  The SOAR Farm Loan project is to build a commercial kitchen due to the success of Southdown Farm’s 2017 year.  The farm sold all of their maple syrup at the Letcher County Farmer’s Market and had many more requests than they had product.  The garden vegetables were sold at both Letcher County and Pike County Farmer’s Markets.  The farm became certified Home-Based Processors and Home-Based Micro-Processors.  They also constructed a sugar shack to process the syrup.  Hannah Long has been asked to sell her baked products to a large local restaurant and through nine c-stores owned by the same individual.  To sell beyond a farmer’s market or direct from the farm, the value-added items must be produced in a commercial kitchen.  The $7,500 SOAR Farm loan will be used to purchase equipment for the kitchen and renovate space.

Sheryl ScottSheryl Scott is owner of Front Porch Gourds, a company founded in 2014 by Sheryl Scott to grow and sell gourds ( and  On the family’s 77-acre farm in Hart County, Ms. Scott grows approximately 3.5 acres of gourds.  The gourds come in all shapes and sizes with 30+ varieties.  In 2016, Front Porch Gourds sold more than 31,000 gourds, both on-line and at shows.  With the SOAR Small Loan of $7,500, Front Porch Gourds will purchase a plastic mulch layer, a dry fertilizer hopper and a bed filler.


Stephen CallahanStephen Callahan is a small vegetable grower in the Bledsoe community of Harlan County that raises a fairly wide variety of vegetables for sale on three acres.  While he sells directly from the farm, his primary outlet is the Pine Mountain Settlement School which will take everything he grows.  Mr. Callahan was one of the original participants in the Grow Appalachia program when it started in 2010 and remains active in the program.  With the $7,500 SOAR Farm loan, Mr. Callahan will purchase a tractor and attachments to expand production.


David WalkerDavid Walker has developed an expanding apple butter business called Walker’s Apple Butter  ( from his 42-acre farm in the Hardy community of Pike County. Because the apple butter is made at his home, it has to be sold direct-to-the-consumer at farmer’s markets, festivals and similar events.  In order to expand the apple butter business, Mr. Walker needs to produce his product in a commercial kitchen.  Being produced in a commercial kitchen, will allow Walker Apple Butter to be sold through retail outlets, gift shops and on-line.  Mr. Walker will use the $7,500 SOAR Farm Loan to build a commercial kitchen on his farm.  


Sheryl Seth Long 1Sheryl & Seth Long are residents of Letcher County who have begun to produce maple syrup on their 50-acre farm outside Whitesburg. In early January 2017, the Longs made a commitment to increase their maple syrup production so it can become a commercial venture. It takes on average 43 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.  The Longs have 102 taps in place and plan to grow to 500 taps over the next two years.  The $7,500 SOAR Farm Loan will be used to purchase an evaporator and other equipment necessary for commercial maple syrup production. 


Griffith FamilyGriffith Family Farm -  Chester and Melissa Griffith are natives of Johnson County who have farmed all of their lives.  Their farm of about 200-acres that was part of a land grant tract given to his family seven generations ago.  The Griffiths produce traditional vegetables of corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, eggs and hay.  Their products are both Kentucky Proud and Appalachia Proud certified.  The Griffith’s will use the SOAR Loan Fund proceeds to construct a greenhouse to grow starter plants for transplant and some sale.  This will allow an earlier and more control start for the season and help with weed control.   More information on their business can be found at

Sweet Bee GardensSweet Bee Gardens ( is a family-owned organic vegetable and fruit business operated by the Fields family located in Greenup County. Products are sold primarily at local farmer’s markets and include tomatoes, peppers, eggs, seasonal greens, herbs, berries and fruit, etc.  The farm processes some of what they grow into value added products, including jellies, spice rubs and canned products in their certified kitchen.  Sweet Bee Gardens also grows some more unusual vegetables and herbs for which they are beginning to develop a market.  With the SOAR Farm Loan of $7,500, the farm will construct a pond for irrigation and upgrade their greenhouses.

Mulberry Family Farm MushroomsMulberry Family Farms - Casey Muncy, along with his family, established Mulberry Family Farming in 2014 to focus on growing “nutrition rich, organic produce” ( farmgrows a variety of vegetables, herbs and cut flowers which are sold at farmer's market and directly on the farm one day each week.  Beyond vegetables, the farm has developed a shitake mushroom market.  In addition, the farm hosts “Farm-to-Table” dinners four times annually.  With the $7,500 loan from the SOAR Loan Fund, Mulberry Family will continue to expand its overall operation by growing additional vegetables, increase mushroom production, expand the egg operation, start a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and add more products to the mix.  

Robert GuessRobert Clay Guess is a young, beginning farmer who grew up and still lives on his family’s 52-acre farm in Johnson County.  The family presently has cattle which Robert has always worked with.  Robert has decided he wants to expand his portion of the herd and move into farming as a career.  His plan is to breed the cows and sell the calves as well as feed out some cows for sale.  The $7,500 SOAR Farm Loan will be used by Robert to purchase cows and calves to establish his own herd.

Amy and Kenny ClemAmy & Kenny Clem are new farmers in the Cawood community of Harlan County who began farming about two years ago.  They own 23-acres in the Cawood community of Harlan County.  Of the tract, about 17-acres are farmable.  It is the former farm of Cawood Ledford, the University of Kentucky announcer.  During their first year of operation, the Clem’s began with cattle and now have five cows with two expecting.  Their plan is to continue to add cattle as well as begin a gardening operation.  With the proceeds of the $7,500 SOAR Farm Loan, the Clems are purchasing a tractor/loader combination.  KHIC also lent the Clems $10,000 to complete the financing.

Roark PhotoBrandon Roark - Brandon Roark grew up in the Artemus community of Knox County and has farmed in the area for half his life, or about 16-years.  He cuts hay which he rolls for sale and owns a herd of cattle.  The farms on which Mr. Roark works are scattered throughout the community.  His tractor can be difficult to move and limits some of the areas where he can cut hay.  With the $7,500 SOAR Farm Loan, Mr. Roark will purchase a second smaller tractor to  allow him to lease more hay pasture and improve his efficiency as he will not be having to continuously move tractors from field-to-field.

The SOAR Small Production Loan Fund is a low-interest financing resource designed to assist small producers grow healthy, nutritional foods so that they can move into commercial production. The goal is to support and educate growers to develop a strong local food system in eastern and southern Kentucky that will be market-supported and result in a profit for the growers.


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