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Paulding County

Click on the producers names to read their story.

From Zoo To Zucchini... A Success Story For The Ages.

1.	Tim Coleman on his farm in Paulding County, GAPetting Zoo to Produce Farm

In 2007, Tim Coleman bought an old farm- stead in Paulding County, GA. He envisioned a place that would once again be vibrant and thriving. Coleman subsequently converted the property into a petting zoo and ice cream business.

After several years enjoying watching children, young and old, learn about the wonderments of the many different animals (and ice cream flavors), he decided to change up some aspects of the farm and get back to doing what he loved to do as a child himself –simply growing food. As a young teenager, Coleman spent several years of his youth growing produce and selling it directly from a roadside stand through- out the summer. It taught him about how hard work paid off and gave him a connection and love for the land that stuck with him for life.

“I first opened a produce stand when I was 13 years old.  I have always liked connecting people with good food.”  — Tim Coleman

That boy later grew up, developed a trade, and over the last 28 years, he’s been keeping up with the pulse of his community as the operator of Hiram Barbershop. So when the chatter started to pick up about folks wanting to find better sources of locally grown and higher quality produce, he saw an opportunity to meet that demand.

Coleman visited with his sister-in-law Janice Georgiadis, who handled most of the farm’s day to day operations. Soon after that meeting, their shift from primarily an agritourism operation to a more commodity focused production farm began.

New Focus, New Partners

While a few of the petting zoo’s animals still have a place on the farm, they play a more supportive role to the farm’s production techniques than the main attraction. The goats help with vegetation control and the chickens help manage the bug population, while both help to produce natural fertilizer for the soil.

2.	A seasonal high tunnel installed on Cole- man's Paulding County farm.One of the things that Coleman likes about running his own produce operation is that it allows him to experiment and grow things that are not found in the local stores. He likes crops that have unique flavors and are eye catching to his customers. The variety keeps him sharp and his customers coming back for more.

This kind of curious and tinkering nature led him to make an appointment with his local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office in Marietta. He wanted to look at ways he could improve his operation and make better use of his acreage

Coleman met Valerie Pickard, a since retired district conservationist. Together they were able to walk the farm, discuss management objectives, and found several ways to make improvements on the farm. These improvements were the focus of his conservation plan. This plan addresses how to improve natural resource concerns like water quality and quantity, soil erosion, and forage management, among others.

“The whole NRCS team was outstanding. I have recommended EQIP to numerous people based on my experience.” — Tim Coleman

Armed with his conservation plan, Coleman applied for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) in 2013 as a beginning farmer (having farmed less than ten years at the time of application) and was funded in 2014.

EQIP is a highly competitive program that is authorized under the Farm Bill and is administered by the NRCS. It provides technical and financial assistance to land- owners in order to incentivize improving natural resource concerns on private lands. Read on for the list of his conservation practices and their associated benefits.

Conservation Practices Installed: 3.	Goats providing nutrient and forage management support.

Fence (382*): One thousand feet of woven wire fencing was installed to divide existing pastures into rotational grazing paddocks for better forage management.

Herbaceous Weed Control (315*): Mechanical weed control was planned for 3.3 acres to reduce the amount of undesirable vegetation found throughout the Coleman operation.

Forage and Biomass Planting (512*):  Forage improvement was planned for acres. This practice is designed to improve animal forage and promote soil and animal health.

Livestock Pipeline (516*): 250 feet of pipeline was installed in order to convey fresh clean water to the livestock watering facility.

Watering Facility (614*): A two ball freeze proof watering trough was in- stalled in order to provide clean water to animals.

Heavy Use Area Protection (561*): A 400 square feet area around a watering trough was armored with geotextile and rock in order to reduce erosion and improve water quality.

Seasonal High Tunnel for Crops (798*): Installation of 1,732 square feet of polyethylene covered growing structure in order to improve soil and plant health while also extending the growing season.

4.	A two ball, frost-proof waterer provides fresh drinking water to Coleman's livestock.Irrigation System, Micro-irrigation (441*): 1,600 square feet of micro- irrigation was planned to supply water to the crops in a more efficient manner.

Irrigation Water Management (449*): A management practice was implemented in order to control the application and amount of water being utilized for the crops in the high tunnel system.

Irrigation Pipeline (430*): Pipeline was installed in order to convey clean water from its source to the high tunnel’s micro irrigation system.

*NRCS practice code numbers

 

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