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Amish family builds home, barn in PI

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A young Amish family is heading out on their own and putting down roots in Presque Isle, starting with a winter barn raising.

Dennis Yoder has been busy this winter working on a multi-purpose barn building on Phair Road in southern Presque Isle.

“Our plan is to have a farm here, probably in 2020,” Yoder said during a lunch break. “I can’t tell you for sure what it’s going to be. We are leaning very hard towards sheep and goats.”

Yoder said their 130-acre parcel of land will offer good pasture for raising cows, goats or sheep, which he plans to sell at New England livestock auctions.

Other Amish farms in the area are raising meat sheep for auctions, collaborating with trucking companies to haul the livestock. Last year Yoder’s father purchased herds of 150 goats and 75 sheep.

“It’s a new experiment for us this year. What we’ve experienced so far is good,” Yoder said.

Yoder, his wife and three young children are currently living in a small cabin at their new property while working on the barn. The goal is to move in this fall, and eventually convert it into a multi-purpose barn and cold storage building while building a farmhouse, Yoder said.

“It’s a slow process. My budget is telling me how fast I can go.”

Yoder has been living in Easton and working as a carpenter. He is a nephew of Noah Yoder, whose family was the first Amish group to settle in central Aroostook County in 2007.

Dennis Yoder moved with his parents in 2011 from upstate New York. Since getting married, he’s been on the lookout for land of his own, where the family could build a homestead, farm and operate businesses.

“I want to make my work from home and this place came up for sale,” Yoder said. The land was owned by Joyce Ireland, who’s now living in Florida, Yoder said.

Most of central Aroostook County’s Amish families have settled in Easton and Fort Fairfield, with more recent settlements in Perham. While Dennis Yoder’s young family is close to the borders of Easton and Westfield, they will be among the first Amish to settle in a service center municipality like Presque Isle.

“It’s makes me a little bit nervous on the taxes, but we’re going to figure that out as we go,” Yoder said.

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