Elly’s Acres Farmer Veteran Tour

John Lamondes purposely chose to venture into farming after retiring from 27 years of service in the United States Military. Farming became a life-long goal of his after working on a farm as a young kid. Today, he owns and operates Elly’s Acres, a sheep and maple farm that specializes in pasture raised, grass fed, hormone and antibiotic free lamb, and fine wool.

In our video tour of the farm, John emphasizes that farming is not as simple as it seems; there are many different sides of farming from disease and pest management to marketing. The many moving parts of agriculture are similar to the workings and planning that go into military service. Planning is an integral skill developed within the military even down to the lowest rank. He shares that the many benefits that veterans bring to society are not always portrayed well. The intensive planning and sensing that goes along with being in the service is greatly beneficial to other aspects of life, including farming. For him, his military training will never leave him, it will just be used in different areas of his life. Today, John uses his military sensing and planning abilities towards the health and wellbeing of his animals. He is constantly assessing what needs to be adjusted and readjusted, implemented, or fixed.

While in the military, John got a little taste of the fiber production side of agriculture. One of his duties required him to be knowledgeable on fiber and clothing materials for uniforms and equipment. He credits gaining other knowledge from Cornell Cooperative Extension classes that aided in all areas of farming. Additionally, he mentions financial advice from Farm Credit East which helped to get the ball rolling with their land and farming initiatives. 

Elly’s Acres has doubled in size since the filming of the video. They have increased their products including an ancillary product line and hats, mittens, gloves, and socks all from their own wool. The farm is continuously starting new projects to become more efficient and to supply their demand. They invested in new equipment including a tractor and skid steer which has helped them immensely. The next project will be a commercial on-site freezer!

Claire Norman

Claire is a Senior in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. She chose an interdisciplinary major where she could blend her passions for small-scale agriculture and education. Claire comes from a small dairy farm in Pine Plains, NY, where she grew an appreciation for the natural environment, but it was through FFA that she developed a passion for education. She hopes to one day bring agriculture to her classroom and to support community agriculture.
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