Antony Van Zyl

Farming Status and Plans

Farming status:

Not currently farming

Description of farming status, plans, and practices:

I am looking to partner with a working farmer who needs to increase revenue to their farm without having to increase productivity. My speciality is to work with existing farms and farmers in creating agritourism revenue for existing working farms.

If you have property that includes unproductive but scenic or picturesque wooded areas, ponds, streams or views, unused or underutilized barns or just want to scale back or even hand over the commercial farming, I would love to speak to you.

From glamping to events - your farm or property may have a hidden and untapped revenue source that could rival or surpass existing agribusiness operations.

Description of marketing method:

We will use an extensive program of Internet based resources to attract guests from urban areas. This includes media heavy web sites, deep social media and strong CRM systems, combined with partnerships with numerous trael and experiential websites.

Does this farmer have a business plan?

In progress

Farm Characteristics

Preferred location:

Eastern, Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Washington, Southeast, Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, Westchester

Desired acreage:

1-5, 6-10, 11-20, 21-50, 51-100, >100

Description of water access required:

Water access is the only thing required in terms of infrastructure. The ideal property would have running water through it like a creek or stream. Ponds, springs 

Crops and Livestock

Primary crops:

Vegetables, Fruits, Ornamentals, Other Crops

Primary Livestock:

Cattle - Dairy, Equine, Goats/Sheep, Poultry, Other livestock

Description of livestock/crops:

Agritourism is a desire for people to reconnect with the land and for many, to see the genesis of what they eat. The basis of this type of enterprise is to allow guests to experience first hand the essense of farm life (not the reality - as any farmer understands the true rigor of farming) In many ways this is "Disneyfication" of farming and any existing farm operation will have to be adapted to accomodate, for both safety and aesthetics, guests. Most crops and livestock operations can be included with minimal adaptation, however large scale single crop or livestock operations are far more challenging.

Farmland Tenure

Tenure options desired:

For Lease, Partnership, For Sale, Other Tenure Agreement

Description of tenure options desired:

Open depending on the land. Land that is relatively undeveloped we would rather purchase. If there is a fair amount of infrastructure in place could look into a lease. The most effective agreements are those that allow the existing farmer to maintain or reduce their current agribusiness commitment while increasing revenue by outsourcing their agritourism business. We are also developing a roster of farmers who understand this business model and can farm in a co-operative structure with agritourism.

Additional Information

Will this farmer's operation qualify an eligible landowner for an Agricultural Assessment?

Maybe

Experience & education:

Farm employee, Farm internship/apprenticeship

Experience description:

I come from a long lineage of farmers and I know very well how hard and difficult it is to run a sustainable or profitable farm. I also know directly how deeply ingrained farm families are with their land, through personal love or deep family roots. 

In today's very difficult agribusiness environment, it is almost impossible for a small family farm to survive. Family farms are often subsidized by outrside work and the ever increasing loss of small farms is devastating. 

I hope to be able to work with individuals who would like to see their farms go on in one way or another, rather than turn their land over to corporate leases for single crop farming or worse yet - ever sprawling subdivisions.

I did not follow in my families farming footsteps (even though spent more time on working farms than any of my peers). Instead I went into hospitality owning and operting inns, restaurants and coffee shops. 

Now, as agritourism is growing in popularity and demand, I see a way to use my experience and background to halp and possibly re-invigorate family farms.