rich/ October 2, 2010

This started out as a single post, but I just kept rambling, so I’ll be dividing it into 2 parts: a background on erosion in general, and gullies in particular, followed by part 2, actions that we’re doing here on the farm to mitigate their impacts. Comments are appreciated A gully is a response that land makes to erosion, either

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Limited quarter shares available soon!!

val/ September 23, 2010

Well, we were sold out, but our neighbor informed us earlier this week that he has one additional heifer available! We have 1 or 2 quarter shares left at $3.25/lb plus butcher charges (around $100 per quarter). We estimate the heifer to have a hanging weight of around 150-180 lbs. The butcher date will either be in early October, if

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Sold out for this year!

val/ July 26, 2010

Thanks to all the customers who placed orders this year! Our Premium summer beef is sold and tucked away in freezers around the Portland area. And we have maxed out on orders for Neighborly Autumn heifers. We may be able to fill up to 4 quarter orders for fall/winter ground beef shares, but won’t know for a few weeks. If

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Last call: Spring beef!!

val/ May 24, 2010

If you’re interested in purchasing a share of the “Neighborly” spring beef, please contact us before 5pm today as the animals are going to the butcher tomorrow. Thanks!

spring grass-fed beef – available in 3 weeks!

val/ May 18, 2010

We have 3 quarter shares available of “Neighborly” beef shares. The price is $3.25/lb, and it will be butchered next week and available for pickup in about 3 weeks – just in time for summer barbeques! The spring “Neighborly” beef is from young non-breeding heifers raised by our neighbors who (like us) only feed their animals on pasture and hay,

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Grass-fed beef… new nutrition study

val/ March 11, 2010

A New York Times article out today highlights a 3-decade nutrition study comparing grass-fed beef to grain-fed beef. From the article: Beef from grass-fed animals has lower levels of unhealthy fats and higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are better for cardiovascular health. Grass-fed beef also has lower levels of dietary cholesterol and offers more vitamins A and E

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Then and now

rich/ February 26, 2010

A while back we made contact with a woman who grew up on our property in the 1950s.  Renee was kind enough to share some pictures, and I’ve finally gotten around to scanning a couple of them, as well as found the approximate point that they were taken from in order to do a photopoint comparison.  While I was doing

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Blog for food 2010

rich/ February 15, 2010

As the last post indicated, food security is a pretty compelling issue in the US, and the Northwest in particular. For a state that is awash in good farmland with which to grow enough food to feed all of us, a series of socioeconomic and cultural conditions prevents the food from getting from where it’s grown to where it needs

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Egalitarian, not elitist…

val/ January 14, 2010

The American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman gave the keynote address at a Farm Bureau conference in Seattle earlier this week. The text of his speech is here. Wow. Talk about being divisive. It seems to me that the FB Prez just issued a call to arms (literally?) for Farm Bureau members. Apparently those of us promoting alternative agriculture

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Giving antibiotics to healthy animals…not so smart.

val/ December 30, 2009

Thanks to Karen for tipping me off about an article about the link between drug-resistant bacteria and animals fed antibiotics. Article here. The article talks about how the rise of (unnecessary) antibiotics use in animals is leading to drug-resistant infections. For readers who aren’t already aware of this, most of the cows, pigs, and chicken raised for meat in this

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Corn mountains

rich/ December 19, 2009

Gene Logsden has a good post up about the piles of corn that end up in the midwest at the end of harvest season. Oh, my aching HFCS.

Carbon farms

rich/ December 16, 2009

With the Copenhagen climate talks stuttering along, it seems like past time to throw in some quick comments The effect of livestock on greenhouse gas emissions are often overrated, if not entirely exaggerated Pasture is part of the solution to the carbon issue Some farms are doing it right And the systems exist to fix the problem OK, seriously, I

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rich/ November 16, 2009

Our friend Clare was interviewed on KBOO recently along with Joel Salatin…quite a coup. I found it especially interesting to hear Joel talk about the massive gullies that were on his land when his family arrived there, since we are dealing with similar legacies of past land abuses. They talk about land, farm cooperation, and meat processing, as well as

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Fall Beef

rich/ September 24, 2009

It’s that time of year again…you have an opportunity to purchase some grass fed beef raised by our neighbors, the Thorntons.  The Thorntons have been on their ranch since the 1930’s, and breed the steers that we raise for our grass-fed beef.  They have 2-3 cows that will be butchered this fall – 1 in about a week, and the

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Cattle drama

rich/ August 12, 2009

The lack of posts recently can be somewhat attributed to the vagaries and long lists of summer, and somewhat attributed to a bit of farm excitement that happened early in July. I didn’t want to post until I had a complete story, and the story dragged on somewhat. Now, however, things are back to normal, whatever that is. And here’s

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Mossback Farmer at InFARMation talk Tues. May 12th

val/ May 7, 2009

I was invited to speak at the InFARMation (and Beer!) gathering next Tuesday evening. Friends of Family Farmers has been hosting these events since the start of the year. I’ll be talking about our nearly 10 years of experience raising animals, options for consumers who choose to opt out of purchasing factory-farmed meat, and challenges facing meat producers in our

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Graz(ing) anatomy

rich/ April 15, 2009

The recent issue of Onearth has an excellent article on the ecological benefits of grassfed beef, including the effects on wildlife, the water cycle, the grain trap, and carbon sequestration. We’re in the process of writing up a grant to detail the effects of different pasture treatments upon the carbon capturing properties of grasslands…read the article, and stay tuned!

A farm for the future

rich/ March 28, 2009

I saw this link a while back, and finally found an hour to watch the video… The Oil Drum also has a good commentary on it…the comments there are always worth a visit.

Soylandia, II

rich/ March 23, 2009

In more Soylandia news, farmers who illegally planted genetically modified Roundup Ready soybeans are now going back to conventional soy after finding that the Monsanto product gave poor yields. Unfortunately, the final paragraph is the stomach-sinker: “Companies have been focusing their research on GMO soy more than on conventional ones. So in 10 years we could have 100 percent of

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Oppose funding for National Animal Identification System

val/ March 16, 2009

The U.S. House Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry held a hearing on NAIS, the National Animal Identification System a few days ago. I was alerted to this by Shannon Hayes of Grass-fed Cooking. It appears that the Omnibus Appropriations bill includes funding for NAIS, which is a program that if mandated, will have terrible impacts on farms such as

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2009 Farm newsletter

rich/ March 10, 2009

Here’s a link to our 2009 newsletter, with recipes, musings, and our plans for the year. Enjoy! (note that we’ve heard of some problems opening the PDF with old versions of Adobe Reader. If you have problems, update your software for free here)

Chicken Feed

rich/ March 6, 2009

Time to dredge up the past again. There’s been another surge of interest by several Oregon farmers to get into growing some of their own grain for feed. No wonder, as feed prices have more than doubled since we started doing chickens, and while the commodity insanity of the last year is taking a breather, there’s no reason to think

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Vilsack, et al

rich/ March 1, 2009

Following up on my mention of the new USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Scott’s comment therein, there’s some additional, more promising news on Vilsack’s new tenure. This article talks about Vilsack’s newfound progressive take on the future of agriculture, acknowledging the importance of food to all Americans.  Not so different than Nicolas Kristof’s call for a Department of Food, and

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rich/ February 24, 2009

The weather has been pretty fascinating these days…last week, we got our annual February banana belt, with sun and highs around 60.  This week, it’s still warm-ish, but there’s a lot of rain showers to be dodged. Some farm views these days…click for bigger fence in progress 3 year old planting is looking like a forest Our trees are looking

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Small farm economics

rich/ February 17, 2009

Melissa has a good post up on financing a startup farm. When you add it to Katie’s financial post and our rundown of starting a farm, beginning farmers can get a pretty good dose of the realities of making it happen.