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Beacon Farming Services launches


Beacon Farms is launching a new service to improve soil quality on land intended for agricultural use. Beacon Farming Services provides the machinery, technology and expertise needed to convert rocky ground into fertile fields suitable for farming on a commercial scale.


Beacon Farms has successfully transformed 5 acres of its own land using equipment now being made available to farmers and property owners across Grand Cayman. A state-of-the-art rock crushing machine, pulled by a 7 Series John Deere tractor, pulverises rock to a depth of between 7 and 18 inches. The broken-down earth is then mixed with nutrient-rich compost to create a fertile soil that can be ploughed and planted with a variety of crops.


Beacon Farms Chief Operating Officer Sandy Urquhart said, “Poor soil quality is a common challenge on Cayman. Creating nutrient rich soil increases the volume and quality of crops. Expanding the output improves the financial viability for small farms as well as helping to improve food security in the Cayman Islands.”


Beacon Farming Services offers a rock-crushing package ranging from CI $5,000 to CI $10,000 per acre, depending on the site location and conditions. The Beacon Farms team provides the equipment and qualified operators to prepare the land which generally takes from 4 to 7 days per acre.


“Land improvement is a one-time investment that reaps benefits for years,” said Urquhart.


Last month, Beacon Farming Services completed land improvements on two acres at GreenHaven Farm in Bodden Town. Owner Steve Hawley said, “On Cayman, our greatest limitation in farming has been the very ground we plant in. Cayman has no fields of deep soil. We have coral rock with tiny pockets where we might plant a yam or possibly a tree. The new rock crusher from Beacon Farms is a large machine that’s capable of transforming our land, pulverizing down to eighteen inches. It not only can make an acre of solid rock into an acre that can be completely planted with ground crops, it can pulverize in rows, so that, for the first time in Cayman, we can plant a row-orchard with drive spaces between.


“Any parcel of land can be transformed into fully-productive ground. This is just as true for a small farm as for a large one and the transformation is permanent, outliving the present generation and being useful for future generations of Caymanians. What Beacon Farming Services is offering is the greatest advance to the Caymanian farmer that I’ve seen in my lifetime.”


Rock-crushing is the first of a variety of services Beacon Farms plans to offer the farming community through Beacon Farming Services. Soil quality consultations and crop recommendations based on experience learned in the Beacon Farms research and development centre will soon be available.


Subject to availability, Beacon Farming Services can also provide the compost needed to add nutrients to the crushed rock. Beacon Farms has a static aeration composting facility which breaks down green and brown yard waste, as well as wooden pallets, shredded paper and cardboard. Beacon Farms hopes to expand the facility to produce a surplus of compost and sell to local farmers and landscape gardening firms.


Beacon Farming Services will generate a new revenue stream for Beacon Farms, a non-profit organisation that provides jobs in agriculture for Caymanians in recovery from addiction. Sales of agricultural produce and manufactured goods help support the farm’s social programme but are not yet enough to make the farm financially self-sufficient.


As an innovator in agriculture, Beacon Farms is committed to exploring new methods and solutions to expand farming operations and secure the farm’s future. Until this point, Beacon Farms also depends on donations from the local community to ensure it can continue to provide a safe, supervised work environment for people rebuilding their lives after drug or alcohol abuse.


For more information about Beacon Farming Services, or to arrange a consultation, please contact info@beaconfarmscayman.org or call 345 947-9800.


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