Wait, really? Yes indeed, although you’ll also have to pay the $150 entry fee and be ready to move to Alabama. Via ABC Affiliate WAAY:
Too Good to be true? Elkmont couple taking essays to give away goat cheese farm
It sounds too good to be true. An Elkmont couple is looking to give away their mortgage free farm, house, 85 goats, and all the tools you would need to start a goat cheese business, to the best person fit to take care of their goats.
For the Spells, it took several tries, and plenty of fails to perfect their goat cheese. Once they did Humble Heart Farms has become a growing business for the couple. So why give it away?
The couple is looking to move to Costa Rica to help missionaries start goat farms. They first tried to sell their property, they say is worth $350,000. When they found most interested couldn’t afford the price, they though of doing something else.
“Debt is one of the worst things you can have as a farmer,” Paul Spell said.
They read about another woman, Janice Sage, who gave away her Bed and Breakfast in Maine in a similar way. After checking with their lawyer to make sure it was legal, now they are only asking for an essay explaining why you want the farm and a $150 dollar entry fee.
“We are actually really excited about it, we’re looking forward to seeing the amount of people who would be interested,” Leslie Spell said.
Right now, they are hoping to get at least 2,500 entries. Those fees would cover the rest of the mortgage on the house, and $20,000 to give to the winner for start up cost on their business.
ELKMONT, Ala. – Despite the hopes and intentions of its owners, an Alabama goat farm at the core of a nationwide contest sits in limbo.
It was a story that captured the headlines and imaginations of readers across the country earlier this year: For the price of a good essay and a $150 entry fee, you could be the owner of a successful goat dairy farm and several acres of land debt-free — an offer worth well over $350,000.
Participants who entered the Humble Heart Farms Goat Dairy & Creamery essay contest will be disappointed to learn there won’t be a winner. The northern Alabama farm’s owner, Paul Spell, said Friday not enough entries were received to officially declare a winner on Oct. 15.
The story even gained enough traction to be featured in Hearst Publications' Country Living magazine and on the U.K.-based Daily Mail, taking word of the Spells’ contest worldwide and leading people on social media sites to talk about the “what ifs” and share similar stories where property owners were handing off land or buildings for practically free.
There were specific requirements for the entries, but also rules for the contest organizers — the main one being the judges needed to receive at least 2,500 essays before declaring a winner. That didn’t happen.
“I’d thought for sure this would work,” Spell said Friday. “We didn’t get even close.”
Those that entered the contest by the Oct. 1 deadline will soon get a refund check, according to contest organizers. Spell didn’t say how many entries were actually received, but said there weren’t enough to even consider extending the deadline an additional month.
The entire reason for the contest was to get the farm off Spell’s hands and raise money for he and his wife, Leslie, to move to Costa Rica to help missionary friends with their goat dairy. They had tried selling the farm, but it wasn’t helping Spell find the right owner.
“We had (the farm) up for sale, but the ones who really want it don’t have the money, and the ones who have money ask about the return on investment,” he told The Athens (Alabama) News Courier last month. “They’re missing the whole point of what we’re doing. We’re profitable, but you’re not going to live like a king. It’s still a lot of fun.”
Spell said he isn’t exactly sure what his next move is, but it will still end up with the family going to Costa Rica. The farm, including the family's home, will either be placed back on the market at its full value or will come under the operation of a nonprofit organization.
“We’ll see what happens,” he said.
The Athens (Alabama) News Courier contributed details to this story.