Land and Vision
An essay of sorts....
After many years of thinking about this topic, I (Billy) decided it was time to throw it up on our website as a hope that like minded individuals would find it and hopefully start a conversation about land and the future of land in our community. I hope that this essay of sorts reaches anyone interested in land access for small, regenerative minded farmers. If you are someone of that mindset, someone who owns land, someone who might own land, or someone who wants to in someway help this kind of movement. I implore you to read on.
First I will start with the long term vision. The initial years of our farm has been can we do this? Is this possible? Can we produce a product that customers want? The answer to that has been a firm yes. The challenge though is growing to a point that is sustainable on the long term from a human resources point of view. My vision has evolved significantly over the years and my view has materialized into the broader goal of being able to produce food for our local community while simultaneously training a new generation of farmers. When I say a new generation of farmers I mean a new discipline of farmers (in many ways a return to generations ago) who employ farming practices that are in sync with nature un-reliant on pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, $million dollar equipment, etc. A new discipline of farmers who raise animals humanely in a natural environment un-reliant on hormones, antibiotics, and GMO feedstuffs. We have the direct marketing model and the initial experience to grow and train new farmers to challenge our current system and break away from our low price, low nutrition, high toxicity food system. We want to bring people from all backgrounds who have the desire into our operation to train, teach, and hopefully send out to start their own farms. The big challenge for our small but mighty farm (Little Mountain, right?) is having the land base to do so.
This is where the land piece comes in. In order for us to grow we need access to more land. When I say access, we need long term access for long term stability and environmental restoration. Ownership is not the goal, conversely land improvement is the goal. Long term soil health rejuvenation, invasive species control, wildlife habitat restoration, prairie restoration are all but a few pieces to the puzzle. We are primarily livestock focused however land access that would allow us to expand to regeneratively grow crops is not outside of our wheelhouse. Incorporating a cropping system into our farm helps us bring down other costs associated with feed as well as forage opportunities on cover crops. All that aside, land access gives us the opportunity to grow. It gives us the chance to hire full and part time employees and pay them a good wage and simultaneously train the next generation of farmers.
The point of this is to say if you have some kind of interest in land and want to see it managed differently, then let's talk, or if not us, find a farm with similar values as ours. We have to revolutionize agriculture globally and the place to start is right here at home. Thanks for reading!