"We have worked with Tony Kleese at Earthwise Organics for the past several years in transitioning conventional farming practices to a more sustainable approach. He has helped us to organize our ideas and goals and form a pragmatic approach to making them a reality. What we have found most delightful about our work together has been a wonderful balance of professionalism, honesty, and compassionate problem solving—all of these necessary for establishing a rapport and working relationship with a varied and far flung family. While we are still in transition, the experience thus far has been remarkable."
-Martina Carr T. Tramontozzi, Bracebridge Hall, Carr Farm Edgecombe County
III. Property Plans - Some of Tony's clients have hired him to do a comprehensive plan for all or part of their property. This often starts with an analysis of the goals and resources of the clients and the market conditions in which they will be operating. A report is generated that summarizes the findings and suggests options for establishing agricultural enterprises. The client then identifies the priority option(s) and business plans are developed for the enterprises and a property plan is created to guide development and management . In these situations Tony may collaborate with other professionals who bring specific skills or credentials needed for the project.
We are in a period where the ownership of a lot of agricultural land is in transition. There are many forces behind this, and Tony works hard to help insure that good farm land stays in agriculture and is improved by transitioning the land to organic. He helps his clients to focus their intentions and assists them in developing and implementing strategic approaches to accomplishing their goals. Typical clients include:
Over time, Tony has found that his farm consulting services fall into three focus areas:
"Tony is an invaluable coach as we have been starting our new produce and berry farm. He helped us initially in assessing several sites, and although this farm and farmhouse are larger than we had first planned — 'The land speaks to me' was the affirmation from Tony that nudged us to make the purchase. Tony has saved us money and time by offering expert advice that allowed us to avoid a lot of mistakes and pitfalls that many beginner farmers make. As a top expert in sustainable agriculture, he coaches us with a persistent, methodical, and patient perspective. Tony is wise from experience, presenting information thoroughly and logically so that our farm’s potential is optimized, always making sure we’re further up on the learning curve than we would have ever been without him."
-Larry Newlin, Owner/Farmer Peaceful River Farm
II. Transitioning Land to Organic - The National Organic Program's standards require that land must be free of prohibited materials for 36 months prior to the harvest of the first organic crop. This is called the transition period. Many of Tony's clients request assistance in developing a plan for this period, which often involves soils analysis and the development of a soil enhancement plan. Tony has also assisted many people in developing their organic certification application once the land qualifies for organic status.
I. Pre-purchase Land Evaluation - Tony has worked with several clients to help them evaluate land before they purchase it. They are often working with a realtor to show them properties, and when they find one they think is a possibility, Tony does a site visit to evaluate the land's capacity to meet their farm goals. The site visit usually involves a basic evaluation of the soils, water, vegetation, and infrastructure of the property.