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New Mercies Farm Welcomes New Farmers

Posted 12/5/2015 5:21am by Rodney Hornbake.

 During the 2015 growing season the land at New Mercies Farm took a rest. The soil was improved by planting cover crops of buckwheat, peas and oats.  

At the same time the landowners, Rod and Debby Hornbake, and their consultant Kathy Ruhf of Land for Good, completed a search for new farmers.  Ruhf’s organization specializes in matching farmers and landowners throughout New England. Her rigorous process brought us a number of highly qualified applicants.  


At the end of that process, the lease to operate the farm was offered to and accepted by Baylee Drown and Ryan Quinn.   Baylee is known in the community as the operator of Upper Pond Farm in Old Lyme.  She has shown a track record of success there and has expanded her operations steadily. She will further expand her farming to the land on Beaver Brook Road.  


Baylee is a farmer by birth, by training and by choice. She is a fifth generation farmer from Michigan where she was raised on a farm.  Baylee is a graduate of Michigan State University and was awarded a Master of Science in Sustainable Food Systems by Green Mountain College in Poultney Vermont.  Along the way she has accumulated an impressive record of leadership and management success in diverse farm ventures.  Since January 2014 she has been an entrepreneur farmer.  


Ryan Quinn, known as “Quinn”, received his BS in Biology and MA degree in Education from the University of Connecticut. He is transitioning from part time to full time farming.  He has a rich and diverse background as a chemistry teacher, farmer, outdoor educator, carpenter, handyman and even as Chief Steward aboard the Kalmar Nyckel, a tall ship sailing out of Wilmington DE.  


Alone either Baylee or Quinn would be competent to operate New Mercies Farm.  Together and with their staff of four assistants and apprentices they are truly formidable.  We believe our community will be blessed by their energy, experience and enterprise.  


New Mercies Farm was started in 2012 by Rod and Debby Hornbake as a Social Enterprise dedicated to three social goals:  1) to preserve land for agricultural use;  2) to provide wholesome food for the community; and 3) to provide opportunities for young farmers to be successful in their chosen field of endeavor.