Alexa Berko and Justin Seelaus have always had a passion for agriculture, animal welfare, ecological consciousness and land re-generation. “I grew up in central New Jersey farm country and met Justin while studying conservation and wildlife management. We spent the first part of our careers working for vegetable and dairy farmers” Lexi remarked. So when Obercreek Estate offered them 30 acres of rent-free pasture and barn space to raise livestock, in exchange for grazing services and pasture management, they knew it was an incredible opportunity to create Wild Lea Farm, a local source for grass fed, naturally raised goat, lamb and mutton products. Lexi recalls “we had some personal savings but needed additional funding to realize our vision: to promote the humane treatment of animals, animal health and sustainable farmland.”
HOW WE ARE HELPING
“Lexi and Justin presented a strong business plan that showed rising demand, particularly for pasture raised goat meat in NYC up through the Hudson Valley. We crafted a loan that would provide startup capital and a flexible repayment plan to help during their initial breeding cycle” notes Simone Obermaier, Senior VP at Community Capital. The loan allowed Wild Lea to purchase breeding stock and produce a small spring herd that was sold at the 79th Street green market in NYC. “Demand was incredibly strong. Wild Leawas the only lamb and goat vendor at the market and in a 7 week period wedepleted our meat inventory” said Lexi. Looking into the next breedingcycle they expect to double their livestock and also supplement seasonalmeat sales with wool and hide product merchandising.
“Working with Community Capital has provided us access to capital for infrastructure, equipment and livestock. They helped us design a flexible repayment plan that works with the growth and projected income stream of our agricultural livestock business .”–ALEXA BERKO AND JUSTIN SEELUS