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Thursday, October 3, 2013

a message from PJ and Maggie Neid

Dear Community,
What is so bad about being one of the last standing working farms in Ligonier Township?  I am very proud that our farm has become a working farm with the cows, crops and vegetable gardens. I am happy that one of the barns is being used by a young woman growing her horse business and expanding to more riding lessons and horse leasing.
So, let’s clarify some lies, rumors and misinformation that have been distributed regarding our intentions of Foxley farm and its impact on our community.
We bought this farm to enjoy the simple pleasures that I have missed over the last 14 years since my father died on our family farm.  I loved the gardens, open space, the night time dark skies with the stars, the joys of having a new calf, chicken, lamb or piglet, and the physical hard work.  So I had a dream and my husband gave me the strength and encouragement to pursue it.  I wanted to bring the farm to people, the simple things in life that many of us are too busy to enjoy. I wanted to start an Agribusiness in my community that is embraced by many communities across this nation and other countries, these businesses are often called Agritourism.  Ligonier would not be the beautiful town if it wasn't for tourism. Tourism started on farms and in small towns like ours, by people traveling and stopping to rest or eat along the way.  These farms, also, have become a place for two people and their families and friends to witness a special moment in their life by sharing in the commitment in becoming man and wife.  The meat, the chicken and vegetables grown on the farm are then readily available for the feast.  My husband and I still cherish in our commitment to each other and we believe that bringing two families together is something special and should be smiled upon not frowned upon.
As many of you have read or heard or experienced, farming is not an easy life nor is it one that many people want to venture.  Many farms in Ligonier are choosing to subdivide and adding Mc Mansions or drilling for gas.  My husband and I have chosen to do neither.  We would only like to host 25 large events in our library (which by the way is about 89x32) for up to 200 people for weddings and special events.  The other small occasional event (fewer than 50 people) at our farm exhibits the treasures of being on a farm. They are often called Farm to Table events. We also want school groups to visit to learn about gardening or animals etc. We also enjoy families coming to our farm and staying the night to experience the simple pleasures of going for a walk to see the views, taste our berries or vegetables and watch the animals play.  There are no TV’s, no telephones, and no maid service like a BB or a hotel.  The guest participates in the daily activities of watering the gardens, feeding the animals and cooking and sharing a meal together, sadly lost in many homes today.  The rumors of us hosting big band parties, flea markets, car shows or auctions, etc is not true.  Remember please, this is still my home and having other people enjoy this farm as much as my husband and I do is part of my dream!
 Having the events (up to 200) allows us to continually improve our historic farm and house which increases not only our property value but the neighbors. Within two years, we have added  7 flower gardens, one 100x400 berry batch, 3 acres of vegetable gardens, 13 cows, 3500 sunflowers, 6 fruit bearing trees, boarding space for 6 horses and allowed a neighbor farmer to plant corn, hay etc(at no rental charge) so he can continue his own farm operation more easily.   We have also renovated the farm house and grounds to bring this lovely farm back to the condition it so needed.   We also like the Hunt to be able to continue to use our property for their Wednesday or Saturday hunts or other events should they choose to ride
This farm was not a working farm for many years. It actually was a commercial Import/Export business and a home.  It had daily commercial activity!!  This farm, which boarders 711, sits next to a golf course, a commercial hunting ground and boarding house, and a commercially owned property that hosts events also.  How are the non profits in our Valley continually being allowed to do commercial activities without the proper permits? Is being a non profit the key to freedom to do what you want in our valley? I can easily make the farm a nonprofit too, take it off the tax papers, or accept payments in cash and say the people using my farm are only friends.  I chose to try to make a difference and support our community by increasing tourism traffic and paying my taxes that support the police departs, schools and roads etc.  THE SBDC has calculated that hosting our weddings at our farm or even our Inn generates close to $50,000 to the town!!!  So Foxley Farm can help the merchants of Ligonier enjoy an additional $1,250,000 so they can make our town better for the people who live here full time.
How to make a difference and support our farm is not easy but I think our historic farm is worth the fight along with supporting the additional revenue generated for the community.  The addendum to help Foxley farm and other farms is very short but it is attached to many other items that also need changed in our valley.  To make a difference  call, 724-238-2725,or write  one of our supervisors at One Municipal Park Drive, Ligonier Pa 15658, or email tkomar@ligoniertownship.com.  Let them know you support Foxley Farm and we need an addendum that defines what an agribusiness can be in our Valley that supports our community and also maintains the working farms in our area by not changing the scenic and quaint footprint of our Valley.
If you would like to see the farm and ask for details please do so because I love showing off our farm!!
Email me at maggie@ligonierfoxleyfarm.com or call 724-238-3916.
Maggie and PJ Nied