In the early 1990's Donald and Debbie decided that they wanted to lead a simpler, more traditional lifestyle. Their goals include reducing their dependence on material items, increasing dependence on spiritual wealth, and following traditional American values. Eastern Oklahoma provides the advantages of four seasons, a lush, green environment, low-cost recreation, a slower pace, and friendly people.
Donald and Debbie Baker have been planning on farming for approximately 15 years. Donald's family was involved in farming for several generations until both of his parents attended college, married, and moved away from their family farms. Donald's paternal grandfather continued to run a small dairy farm in upstate New York until the mid-1960's when he retired from both farming and his off-farm occupation and sold the family farm. Donald and Debbie moved to Howe, Oklahoma in 2001. Their daughter Danielle joined them shortly after they moved to Oklahoma, and their son David moved to Oklahoma in 2011. As a result, Baker Heritage Farms was officially "hatched" in 2011.
Baker Heritage Farms is a family operation and Donald's parents and two sisters participate in some farming activities as well. The land was financed by Donald's parents and his younger sister, Dorene, provides accounting and other financial services to the operation. Dorene lives in Southern California near Donald's parents. Brenda, Donald's older sister, currently lives in Oregon and does some vegetable gardening and shares her successes and failure. She has been very successful in the past with growing a number of tomato varieties.
Debbie and Danielle will primarily be responsible for vegetable crops. David's primary responsibility will be for poultry and livestock operations; however, David also serves as Farm Manager as he is on-site full time. Donald will manage logistical issues to ensure that the start up is as successful as possible while working to make the farm a sustainable operation.
Donald is currently enrolled in the Oklahoma Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Program. Through a grant from USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture teamed up with the Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers Association (OFRA), the Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative (MFSI) and the Rural Smallholders Association (RSA), along with the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, to train, mentor, and develop resources for beginning farmers and ranchers in Oklahoma. Donald was fortunate enough to be one of the chosen participants for this program and will be discussing what he learns as time progresses.
We look forward to sharing our successes and failures with you.