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B&B "Teaches" Farming To Visitors
Ward and Barb Halligan teach small-scale farming to guests at their comfortable Virginia CornerStone Farm bed and breakfast. Sessions last for anywhere from two days to a week and they charge $175 per person per night.
  Like many of their visitors, Ward and Barb left the corporate world for life in the country. The Halligans have chickens, geese, ducks, cows, horses, donkeys and sheep. Many are miniature breeds.
  They used the experience and knowledge they've gained in 10 years of raising animals to create a detailed handbook on caring for livestock. "Classes" are held around the kitchen table and in the barns, with hands-on lessons on nutrition, veterinary care, housing and livestock selection.
  "There's a big difference from buying a bunch of books as opposed to coming out and doing," explains Barb, who used training skills she learned at AT&T to develop lessons for aspiring farmers, based on their answers to a pre-arrival questionnaire.
  The Halligans require that students stay at least three nights so they can spend two full days at their CornerStone Farm. Some already have knowledge of hobby farming, such as one California client who has taken three sessions during different seasons to learn about raising goats.
  "She came when our goats were kidding, and we had our baby monitoring system on," Barb says. "We know when the doe lets out a certain pitch scream that she is ready to deliver."
  Their California guest appreciated the baby monitor tip, Barb says, adding that their guest bought the kid she delivered.
  Other guests know very little about hobby farming. About 25 percent give up the idea of farming after spending time at the Halligans.
  "We see that as a good thing," Barb says, since they didn't get into something they weren't prepared for.
  Barb notes that the short-term mentorships can't teach everything. She and her husband focus on animal husbandry and touch on shelter, fencing and farm equipment. The Halligans give their guests a book on small-scale livestock farming, and they stay connected later, answering questions through phone calls and emails.
  "We love doing it," Barb says. "It's a growing need. A lot of couples want to get back to the basics on a small farm. They're tired of the rat race and want a safer environment for their children and a wholesome environment for themselves."
  The $175 fee includes lodging, meals and the mentorship sessions. They also offer farm experience vacation packages for couples and families who just want to relax.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ward and Barb Halligan, CornerStone Farm, 525 Barnes Rd., Red Oak, Virginia 23964 (ph 866 977-3276; thefarm@cornerstonefarm.net; www.cornerstonefarm.net).

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2007 - Volume #31, Issue #6