We often get asked why our beef is more expensive then the grocery store or the Walmart. In the next breath, someone tells us that it "must be nice" to just be at home all the time or my personal favorite, "what do you mean, you don't have a storefront?"
I spend a lot of time explaining that as a small family farm, I can't afford to have someone sit in a store manning a counter every day; hoping someone will decide to come in and maybe buy something. Everyone who works for the farm (that would be my husband, me and our four kids) works the farm, everyday.
Not only that, but I have a full time job in the city. I often have to travel and when I do I leave the family farm, and Dan with a pile of kids to do it all without me. Dan also works side jobs. You may have seen him snow plowing, clearing trees and brush and he works evenings making auto-cad drawings as a side gig.
Why? Because farming doesn't pay the bills. Its a sad fact but truth. Do a quick google search and find out that our dairy, grain and livestock farms are shutting doors, selling animals and calling it quits. Its tragic. Take a look at the Mid-west with the weather ravaging farms that have operated for hundreds of years. Farming is in crisis.
Our farm is no exception. Every year we end up investing any money we make back into the farm either in purchasing more livestock, fencing materials, equipment or tools. Every year we end up putting in money that I make from my job to enhance options available to our customers.
In this profession, if we aren't making money, why do we do it?
It's really a simple answer, and they say pictures are worth a thousand words:
We do this because we want our children to know where their food comes from, how it is grown and how to grow it. We do it because we love it.
Being good stewards of the land is important to us. We want to protect and invest in the land around us. Raising animals teaches our kids valuable lessons. They know these animals will be providing us nourishment and protein and keeping us well fed. Yet, we form attachments with the animals we raise. We care for them, worry over them and work to make their lives as pleasant as possible.
We do this, not for the money and certainly not for the glory... I say that as Dan just went by me and a strong cow-like aroma followed....
The earthy (polite way of saying poopy) aromas are an added perk to the job, but the real reason we farm, is because we love it.
All of it. The highs of seeing a pasture full of happy, fat, furry cows, hearing the first moo of the first babe of spring and the slightly windburned yet accomplished feeling after spending a day working our own land.
And the lows: staying up all night to help a cow give birth only to see the baby die a few hours later, the cold nights when you are up every few hours checking on the herds, and the tragedy when unexpected weather takes away our dreams.
We love through it all.
So the next time you think about shopping for beef or chicken, we sincerely hope and pray you will think of us. Or someone like us. Your friendly, hard working, animal loving, local farmers.
Thanks for reading and for trusting us to grow your food.