By Shawn Zimmerman, Enterprise Farm Project Manager
This wonderful gift is, in large, due to the prayers and support of many of you. Several months have gone by since we first welcomed our new tractor, and we at Enterprise Farm are still celebrating! Already, the tractor has prepared the soil and planted seeds for over 45 acres of land (25 acres of that was not cleared/planted last season!). Our farm is filled with maize, groundnuts, cassava, potatoes, soybeans, and bush beans. We are using our tractor to weed these growing crops. Please know we value this gift and have already taken significant steps to make sure it is kept in the best condition possible!
The tractor will enable us to focus more of our time and energy on clearing Enterprise Farm’s remaining 80 acres of land. Our goal: To have every single acre of the farm cleared and ready by the first planting season of 2013. That gives us two years. Is it possible? We think so. But the big “thing” that stands between us and the completion of this goal is—you guessed it—finances. It costs us $250 to clear and prepare an acre of land for planting. Already, because of the tractor, we will receive at least $5,000 of additional income this season—some of that money will be designated for clearing land (and some will help fund New Hope). This will move us further along toward the goal, but still we cannot reach it alone. We need God’s favor and His help through you!
Why is it so important to have Enterprise Farm in full production? Why is this goal something New Hope friends should be excited about? Our move toward commercial agriculture will improve food security measures by building up the rural agriculture infrastructure of the Nakaseke region and, ultimately, assist in poverty reduction. “Going commercial” is imperative to the sustainability of our farm; and as we recover our full costs, the excess income will go to supporting New Hope Uganda ministries. Because Uganda has two growing seasons, each acre we clear will pay for itself in less than a year. That makes recovering costs attainable in the near future.
The financial side is not the only reason to get excited about Enterprise Farm’s future. Just as important is the farm’s opportunity to encourage and inspire New Hope’s children. It is invaluable for our kids to see operations that reach beyond the usual subsistence farming methods that have carried on generation after generation. As they witness our methods—sustainable yet progressive—our kids will be inspired to run toward training in agriculture, rather than run from it.
One last exciting thing: We recently teamed up with the Dakota Project (for fundraising) and Applied Aquaponics (for technical advice) to set in motion an integrated aquaculture plan for our existing fishponds. Our plan is to breed, grow and sell over 20,000 fish annually. This intensive project is yet another step toward our goal of sustainability. Needless to say, God has brought together many pieces in the past year that have now enabled Enterprise Farm to move forward with hope into the future.