We started organic farming in 1989 with spelt being our first certified organic crop sold in 1990. We continue to grow spelt still as well as feed for our angus beef herd, which provide us with organic beef. In 2000 we added spelt dehulling to our farm operation, so now we grow, buy, dehull and sell spelt as well as raising Angus cross cows for organic beef.
Our Organic Beef
Our animals are treated humanely and have access to the outdoors for exercise and fresh air during the winter months. As soon as the weather permits and the grasses are ready, they are on pasture in the spring. All of which are requirements for organic certification.
The cows with their calves born in April and May are taken to their designated areas and rotated through pasture fields. A field next to our buildings is for “mob grazing” the calves one year old and older. Mob grazing is when 40 to 50 head of cattle are fenced in a small area (less than 1/4 acre) for 6 – 12 hours to forage the pasture. After they have trampled and eaten that section down, the fence is moved to allow them to dine on a fresh patch of pasture. This style of intensive grazing requires the fence to be moved 3 – 4 times a day. We have incorporated Gallagher Tumblewheels into our fence system, which make the task of rolling the fence line to a new place quick and easy, We have found the calves do well with intensive grazing and the soil has improved over time as well. Periodically some grass/legume seed is top-dressed to keep plant density good.
The use of drugs including antibiotics and growth hormones are avoided, as they are prohibited for organic certification. At first signs of distress, symptoms help diagnose disease or sickness and animals are treated with natural healing methods (i.e. herbal tinctures, homeopathy and natural remedies) like our grandparents used in the old days before pharmaceutical drugs were available. If an animal does not get well by using these methods, we will use conventional medicine. That animal is not sold as organic, but rather into the regular conventional market.