We appreciate how technology old and new, big and small has made improvements in my quality of life. That said, we don’t bow down at the alter of technology in farming. In the early 1900’s virtually every farm was a small farm. Farming was an overwhelming amount of work. There were no tractors, there was barely electricity, and the farmers had to rely on luck, hard work and tradition to accomplish their daily tasks. Back then, there were also a lot more farms. Each farmer had his production niche and a limit to what he was able to do with his land and his resources. Fast forward just over 100 years and our nation relies on pesticides, herbicides, GMOs, feed lots and factory farms. Whoah! How did we get here? All of these things started as simple aids to help ease the burden of farming, but we’ve gone way overboard. As a nation, we stopped looking at food as a nourishing, community endeavor, and all we saw were dollar signs. Farmers stopped selecting seed for tomatoes because of taste and started to focus more on selecting the varieties that ripened simultaneously and didn’t bruise easily. The production of large amounts of food for large amounts of people requires shortcuts. Sure, weeds and bugs happen in farming, and they can be devastating, but those that came before us had methods of dealing with these issues.
As farmers, we are trying to produce food for our table and your table at the same time. The most important thing for us is the health and well-being of ourselves, our land, our animals and our community.
Our farm is a 100 year old farm in the heart of Oregon’s Yamhill Valley. Someone farmed this land before we did and someone will farm it after we are gone. We view ourselves as a part of the story of the ground that we live on. The land and the soil is alive and we are dependent on it for our production. As such, we do everything we can to make the right decisions daily to be careful stewards of our land.
We are committed to our cows. We have a relationship with our animals. The cows each know their names and we know their personalities. They are the reason we are able to operate our farm. We don’t ask our cows to produce beyond their limit. We don’t discard our calves. We think cows should be out on green grass and sunshine as much as possible. Our cows have access to a rotationally grazed pasture during the dry months of the year. During the wet time, the cows are in the barn in cushy beds with lots of beautiful alfalfa hay.
We WILL treat an animal however we see fit when it is sick. We have a relationship with a good vet who knows us, knows our animals and helps keep everyone healthy and happy. We do not routinely give antibiotics to our livestock, yet we do not hesitate to use them if an animal truly is in need of them. We strive to use natural methods of handling problems, but when necessary, we use antibiotics or other medications that we know will solve the problem. That is the reason Western medicine exists. Prevention is the best medicine, and in that vein, we routinely vaccinate our livestock and worm them.
After years and years of lab testing our milk, we have discovered how to produce raw milk in a safe way. We are confident in the factors that contribute to a clean milking process and we test our milk at least monthly to ensure that our milk stays safe.
We are always learning. We like to face the problems in farming as a challenge to be solved and a lesson to be learned. We have had the opportunity to learn from some other amazing farmers and we have had the opportunity to be the teachers as well. We know that to do our best for our cows and our community our learning process will never come to an end.
We should always look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink… –Epicurus