All of our hay and pasture acreage has been seeded to a diverse forage mix which includes fescue, rye, orchard and blue grasses, red and white clover, alfalfa, plantains and chicory. We also raise emmer wheat for consumer markets, seed and chicken feed, and then we use the straw for bedding of the chickens and the cows during the winter.
Except for the 7 brood cows we purchased, all other cows have been born on the farm. Our plans are to raise the heifer calves as either cow replacements or finish them off on grass along with the steers, with ultimate harvesting for butchering. Our brood cows will continue to remain on the farm for as long as they are able to continue to calve. Once the cows are no longer able to calve, they will either be harvested for butchering or allowed to live out their life on the farm.
We are a grass fed/finished beef operation. We believe in a regenerative farming approach and our goal is to eliminate all external inputs. We use shallow tillage sparingly and only organic seed. We do not use herbicides, insecticides or synthetic fertilizers. The only antibiotics used relate to specific health events encountered with the cows.
The interaction and the building of a bond and/or trust with the animals is very challenging and rewarding. Much like us, each of the cows have their own personalities, but the trick is deciphering these personalities through observation and direct interaction, since they can't speak English.
By providing the ground with continual cover and a growing root base, we are encouraging the retention of all rain that falls on the acreage and the feeding of the biology of the soil. By utilizing a diverse mix of forages, we are providing diversity to the biologic community with the soil, which much like the benefits of diversity to us and our animals benefits the structure and fertility of the soil. By rotationally grazing the pasture and a portion of the hay fields we are also providing a fertility benefit from the animals direct to the soil and their hoof action provides a necessary shallow disturbance of the soil skin to distribute seeds, integrate carbon matter and allow additional water infiltration.
As with most inputs to our daily lives, food sourcing is a choice that everyone makes based on their own priorities. If a consumers priority is clean/nutrient dense foods, then they should have the confidence that those foods that make the claim of being clean and nutrient dense are just that.