The day I arrived at Aleta Springs Farm was a stormy day, and I was glad for it. I wanted to see Elk Run, a perennial creek, in action at the farm. The big rain was the test for whether or not the grant actually helped Aleta Springs Farm or not.
Aleta Springs Farm shears their sheep for wool, sells sheep locally, and also sells a finished meat product. In 2012, David Fitt, a native to the Churchville area, decided to jump right in to sheep farming by purchasing the farm. He and his wife, Kathy Crow, purchased the farm when they found out it was for sale. David said he did not want to see the property developed since it is a prime location on the country side. He has a committment to keeping the area agricultural, and with no experience decided to take the chance.
That’s not to say that the past few years have been entirely easy for him. David says he is incredibly busy, as he and his wife both work full time jobs in addition to time spent at the farm. He is also new to the business and has been working hard to manange the farm responsibly while also performing sorely needed updates on the farm. Luckily for David, the farm is rewarding, especially in terms of adorable lambs!
The ACRES Grant
The property that David and Kathy bought had a very narrow driveway. The drive was so narrow that bulk feed trucks and other large trucks refused to drive down the path due to safety concerns, and a general lack of space. The previous culvert was also unable to stand up to heavy rains, easily overflowing.
Aleta Springs Farm used their ACRES grant to replace the culvert and expand the width of the driveway. During the process, excavators removed the old culvert, two metal wagon wheels, and other debris that had been holding up the culvert.
They installed a new culvert with a diameter six inches greater than the old one, improving the flow of the creek. I am happy to report that on the day I visited Aleta Springs Farm, the new culvert stood up to the rain just fine, and David says it has for each major rain since its installation.
What to Expect
David is doing great work with the sheep on the farm. He has been making updates to the farm as time allows. He has also implemented rotational grazing on the farm to help regenerate the land. He has big plans to continue making the farm more sustainable, including planting a riparian buffer along the creek and elsewhere on the farm to reduce erosion and provide shade for the sheep. We look forward to seeing what happens next at Aleta Springs Farm!