For Farmer Clayton Spinney of Jefferson, Maine, It’s All About the Animals
by Ellen S. Gibson
Clayton Spinney grew up on a dairy farm and says that his father “could do anything with anything.” Clayton doesn’t think he has inherited that trait from his father, but the variety of work he does around the farm tells a different story.
Clayton graduated from the University of New Hampshire with an associate degree in animal science. He has lived on his farm, Keekionga Farm II, in Jefferson for 30 years. He raises a variety of animals– beef, sheep, and Mangalitsa pigs. His animals come first. “I took a vacation back in 1990. I didn’t like it and I haven’t been on one since.“
2020 was his first year having a market garden and the first year growing in a 30’ X 72’ high tunnel. “Learning about growing in a high tunnel is an education all in itself,” he said. He attended Maine AgrAbility’s Boots to Bushels (B2B) in 2020 to learn more. He grew cherry tomatoes and eggplants inside the tunnel and “they did very well.” He had a small CSA and found an outlet for the extra eggplants and cherry tomatoes in Freeport.
On participating in B2B, he said “It gives you more people to fall back on, to work with, to ask questions.” Clayton does think B2B can help to create networks in the veteran community, “The farmer veterans all help each other out. That’s really important. We share a camaraderie. We all work together.” Anne Devin, Maine AgrAbility’s veteran outreach coordinator is the mover and shaker behind B2B and helped connect Clayton to the program, “I can’t say enough good things about Anne. She’s my ‘go-to’ girl.”