Farmer on the Rise, Henry Spies V
Farm Credit awarded a total of $100,000 to beginning farmers through the Farmers on the Rise Award Program on December 7, 2023. Henry Spies V of Caroline County, MD is one of ten recipients.
Henry operates Marsh Creek Cattle Company. He established the farm in 2019 in partnership with his younger brother; they are both beginning farmers. The operation currently spans 37 acres and raises pastured-based proteins: beef, pork, chicken, and eggs. They started with rotationally grazing beef calves in 2019 but then shifted toward hogs, chickens, and egg layers due to a quicker return-on-investment. They started with 250 layers in April of 2021, with a plan to offer home delivery of all proteins. Demand for eggs grew and Henry ultimately increased the flock to 800 hens.
Henry and his brother both farm full-time, with Henry managing delivery, farmers' market presence, and online sales. They plan to further increase the flock size and partner with other farms to provide beef, pork, and chicken to their online customers. To that end, the brothers have secured a lease on a larger parcel of land in Denton, Maryland. They plan to establish some basic infrastructure there, including the rebuilding of a high tunnel for winter housing of the hens. Additionally, they going to improve the structure that will contain their egg washing system; it needs water, electric, and insulation to allow for year-round washing and packing.