Diana the corriedale gets an affectionate hug from sheep farmer Jennifer Taran at Harmony Meadow Farm in this Guardian file photo.©File photo
Sisters who run a sheep farm in Belfast, P.E.I. are getting ready to expand their business with the support of some government funding.
Kim Doherty-Smith and Jennifer Taran traded in their corporate careers in 2013 for a more rural endeavour, establishing Harmony Meadow Farm. Having found success on their mixed farm, with a focus on humanely raised lamb and wool products, the next step for the business owners will be to provide premium wool processing and spinning services for their own sheep and other Island-based farmers.
The proposed mini-mill — a cottage-sized wool processing facility — will offer smaller run batches of wool, allowing farmers to receive different yarn weights and colours, diversifying the wool products produced on their farms.
Under the new brand Fleece & Harmony, the company will reach small-town markets by selling their products in local craft shops while an e-commerce website will cater to export markets.
“We are very excited to be able to offer Island fibre producers more options for having their fibre processed locally,” said Taran. “We also hope to launch a successful 100 per cent Island-raised yarn brand for export. Value-added products are becoming increasingly vital to small farm operations and we are proud to have the opportunity to assist others in enhancing their consumer offerings.”
ACOA’s Business Development Program is providing a repayable contribution of $181,000, and the Government of Prince Edward Island is providing a $30,000 grant from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries along with a $10,000 grant from Innovation P.E.I. towards this project.
Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay, who is MP for Cardigan, joined P.E.I. Agriculture Minister Alan McIsaac, at the Belfast farm today to make the announcement.
“Agriculture is one of the foundations of our Island economy, and our farmers are rightly recognized for the quality of their goods,” said MacAulay. “It is exciting to see businesses embracing our traditional industries and local product, while adapting to new market demands and export opportunities.”