In addition to raising livestock, we also grow non-gmo corn, non-gmo soybeans, popcorn, multi-species cover crops, and other grain and cereal crops. These crops are stored on the farm and are used as part of the grain mixtures we feed to our livestock. What cannot be stored on our farm is sold to local feed mills who pay a premium for our non-gmo crops.
We use No-Till Practices
What is no-till?
Rather than plowing up the soil, we sow the seeds of our crops directly into the soil. This minimizes soil disturbance which helps to keep carbon in the soil, enriches soil biodiversity, minimizes runoff, and significantly decreases wind and water erosion. We focus on restoring and building organic matter to rejuvenate and maintain soil fertility in ways that require minimal synthetic inputs.
Grazing Cover Crops
Why so much focus on cover crops?
Cover crops are an invaluable part of a sustainable crop rotation. They improve soil health, minimize erosion, smother weeds, enhance water availability, add organic matter, and replenish soil nutrients. By carefully selecting multi-species cover crops, we simultaneously feed our cattle while naturally fertilizing our soil.
Our cow/calf herd consists of multiple generations of Black and Red Angus born on our farm. Our cattle work in balance with the ecosystem we have created and are moved daily to a fresh section of pasture where they graze grass mixes and multi-species cover crops. In this system, our cattle assist us in giving back what we may take from the soil during crop production. We have created pasture infrastructure that allows us to create a portable system that minimizes soil compaction and eliminates run off.
The cattle in our meat program are also raised in this fashion until the last few months before they go to one of our USDA certified processors. They are provided a nutrient dense diet of forages grown on our farm as well as a grain ration for breakfast and dinner. The grain our cattle consume is mixed by us on our farm from the crops we grow. We send cattle to the butcher 12 months out of the year and this small grain ration allows us to provide a consistent, high quality product with superior marbling and impeccable flavor that receives raved reviews from pit masters, to personal chefs, and families alike.
Our hogs are sourced from a trusted family friend where they are born out on pasture. At 8-10 weeks old, they are brought to our farm where they live out their days rooting through wood chips and natural bedding left by the cattle. Using the "natural shovel" on the end of their snouts, the pigs root through and aerate the bedding and assist us in creating the compost we use to spread back on our fields.
Our laying hens are a wide variety of breeds that create cartons full of colorful eggs. The girls spend the warmer months in a mobile chicken trailer and follow behind our cattle in the fields. When the fields go dormant and the weather takes a turn for the worst, they are protected from the elements in our large high tunnel where they can still roam freely and scratch through the wood chip bedding, creating a wonderful compost we apply back onto our fields.