Our family farming history began with my great-great-... (nine generations ago) grandfather Johannes. He, his wife and three children left Saxony, Germany, on April 20, 1734, aboard the ship St. Andrew, mastered by Capt. John Stedman. They landed at Philadelphia on Sept. 22 and eventually settled our family’s first "New World" farm near Society Run in Frederick Township, Montgomery County, Pa., in 1743. Pig farming was our family’s specialty until the mid 1950s. A lot has changed since then. Our BQA cow–calf operation includes 100% grass-fed registered Red Angus, Hereford and purebred Beefalo; 30 to 35 pastured Duroc and Spot pigs; 100 Freedom Ranger broilers; and 90 Golden Comet and Buff Orpington layers. We organically maintain 80 acres, comprising 15 acres in rotational pastures, 15 acres in tillable cropland, and alfalfa/mixed grass hay on the balance. We have never used chemical pesticides or herbicides on our pastures or hay fields. We are not a "certified" organic farming operation, but we prefer the natural/organic approach to help promote sustainability.
Why we chose 100% Grass-fed
May 21, 2010
For those of you interested in learning why we decided to raise 100% GRASS-FED BEEF and Pastured Pork & Poultry let's continue.
The main reason was the increased health benefits for the animals. Second was the increased health benefit’s of our customers. As soon as we started talking to friends and neighbors about our plans for 100% GRASS-FED BEEF, & Pastured Poultry, to supplement our pastured Pig’s they were VERY INTERESTED. We have customers reserving meat before the animals are even born! Since we opened our on-farm store last October, we have meat orders out as far as 2011. Like it or not, people are interested in Grass-finished and 100% Grass-fed Meat’s. First and foremost because it's seen as being natural for the animals. For decades that was the only way BEEF was raised! On the open range, completely grass-fed. We have no problem with growers and ranchers who produce BEEF through feedlots. It's their personal choice, and it's what works for them. Not to mention demand for lean Beef can never be met with just Grass-fed Cattle. We (American’s), simply don’t have enough open space left in our country to raise enough grass-fed cattle to “Feed the world”! The majority of American raised lean BEEF comes from our Mid-West and even local Southern PA Feedlots. We know a few Ranchers from Colorado and Mississippi who send their cattle to finishing feedlots. And you know what? THAT'S O.K.!! Really.
But we have chosen to do thing's differently on our farm. Isn't America Great?!
You have a choice of how to raise your animals, and because there are different ways of doing that, Consumers have multiple choices when it comes to choosing what is right for them & their families.
Why we chose to raise 100% GRASS-FED cattle. It's less labor intensive to raise our cattle completely on grass. We don't have the input costs of planting, harvesting and storing corn or other grains. Again that's our personal choice. If Corn-fed/finished cattle works for you, GREAT! We don’t have a problem with the way you choose to do what you do. We only ask that you don’t attack us for choosing to raise our animals the way we do.
Our families Pastured DUROC Pigs have always (since 1726), been on pasture with supplemental grain for feed. The main reason is that you cannot raise 100% GRASS-FED Pig’s. They have a “Simple Stomach”, just like humans. Cattle on the other hand have multiple digestive chambers (Rumen), which allow them to live on completely on grass. If you hold a pig up by their front legs (and you put on your X-ray vision glasses), their internal anatomy is almost exactly like ours. They need supplements such as grain and minerals when on pasture/grass. And having them on pasture help’s us keep our feed costs down and we feel (again as a personal choice), that it’s better for them to be outside when weather permits (May – November in the NorthEast).
Our Pig’s as well as our cattle have 24 hour a day access to the indoor’s if for example it’s to hot or cold. Our Pigs have their own pasturing area separate from our cattle. We rotationally graze our pigs because it helps keep their paddocks from being tore-up from overgrazing.
There is plenty of information on the web about pasturing livestock and loads of books and newsletters you can sign-up for, for no charge. We can’t mention any of them because we haven’t asked for permission to mention them. Simply do a search for “Pastured Livestock”. That’ll keep you busy until next week’s blog.
Have a safe weekend and try something different with your livestock! You might just surprise yourself.