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
Feb 13, 2011
Why we decided to raise 100% GRASS-FED BEEF & Pastured Pork.
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 a year before the animals are even born! 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 can respect the decision of producers who produce BEEF in feedlots, because just as we produce 100% Grass-fed BEEF It's a personal choice. If it what works for them and their families and their satisfied with what their doing, so be it. 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 and VA Feedlots.
But we have chosen to do thing's differently on our farm. Isn't America Great?!
As a producer, 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.
First and Foremost it's less labor intensive to raise our cattle completely on grass. We don't have the input costs of planting, harvesting, storing and drying corn or other grains. Again that's our personal choice. If $7.50 CORN-fed/finished cattle works for you, GREAT! But we feel the health risks to the cattle and consumer aren’t worth it.
Our families Pastured 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 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 even 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. Even in January & February when it’s 30 degrees or even colder. When the sun’s out, the Pig’s are too. They love it!
Our Pig’s as well as our cattle have 24 hour a day access to the indoors 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/rooting.
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 week and try something different with your livestock! You might just surprise yourself.