|Jun 21, 2011 --
Outline Of Need:
As with many small family farms in rural areas, there is a need for training and resources to remain competitive and increase profit.
How Rural Development Helped:
Rural Development came to the aid of WesMar Farms by providing the owners a value-added grant in the amount of $20,000 for assistance in developing a marketing plan, business plan, financial plan, risk management plan, and a feasibility study to increase awareness of locally produced food.
As a result of working with USDA Rural Development’s Business and Cooperative Programs Loan Specialist, Judy Meche, West and Marguerite Constantine who own WesMar Farms are now able to market their home-grown dairy products, produced from their Nubian Dairy Goats, right on their small family farm in Avoyelles Parish. They are able to increase their current value-added agricultural commodities market such as fresh goat milk, feta cheese, and soap throughout Central Louisiana, and expand not only locally, but regionally and nationally.
The Constantine's are small independent producers who live on eight acres with pasture-raised goats that are grass fed and hormone free and raised in a non-confined humane manner.
They specialize in dairy goats and dairy goat products, which are considered local food products. The home-grown goat soap is a great skin care product made without preservatives that can help individuals with certain health issues, and the goat’s milk has beta-casein which allows for quick hydration of dry skin. The goat milk is good for individuals with lactose intolerant issues and it has more vitamin A, B, riboflavin, calcium, iron and phosphorus and less cholesterol than cow’s milk, according to Ms. Constantine.
Every Thursday, they set up a farmers market at their farm for local farmers to network and sell their produce to the community. Their mission is to teach about the future of agriculture opportunities to students, provide the local community with an avenue to learn, market, sell, and connect their products to restaurant owners and residents. The farm is available for educational tours so that the students can get to Know Your Farmer and Know Your Food.