Nature's Amazing Beauty!
Greetings family farm enthusiasts, friends and patrons. It's been quite a while since I have written a newsletter. I have been diligently working on developing our systems here to be more sustainable and to function interdependently in a closed loop environment. Everything is going great with all that we have going on. Folks constantly ask how do we do everything and get it all done in a day. My response: the way to deal with heavy work loads is effective time management. The more and more I observe Nature and the natural cycles that work interdependently in our ecosystem, the more I am in awe. Nature works beautifully and it takes many many, many working parts to happen harmoniously. Walking outside early in the morning is like hearing a symphony with many beautiful sounds blessing my soul. The more I get in tune with Nature and learn more about these systems, I am able to effectively develop our farming systems to function in accordance with Nature.
I feel honored to be able to experience Nature’s amazing beauty on a daily basis working with the cows. Seeing how sunlight and sporadic rain events stimulate biological systems in the soil to work together to promote the growth of grasses and forages. Nature created herbivores to be able to consume and effectively process the grass and forages growing from the soil. Grasses and forages that grew from the sunlight and rain are digested by the cows’ rumen (digestive system of an herbivore) and then transformed into MILK. The calves then nurse their mommas to receive this amazing food source to grow into cows themselves. We also extract the milk from the mommas once a day to obtain this beautiful life sustaining liquid.
According to many different sources of nutritional related information and outlets, milks’ nutritional profile is very complex, meaning it has all three macro nutrients needed for the growth, development and regeneration of mammals: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Milk is naturally the first food source of infants and I have witnessed our children grow their first six months of life solely on breast milk before we started introducing new foods. Now the quality of milk is what is most important. Milk from grass-fed and grain-free cows has a superior quality and higher nutritional properties than milk from grain-fed cows. I am not going into these details in this newsletter as you can read more on the specifics in the book, Why Grass fed is best? by Jo Robinson to learn about all the health benefits from raw whole milk produced by grass-fed cows. But what I will share about milk is the fact that it comes from a beautiful system within Nature’s framework, not the framework of some land grant university.
Our system here at Nature’s Roots farm is quite unique as it is 100% portable. Literally I can take everything that I need to run my operation to any location I want at the drop of a hat. From the fences to the power charger to the cows themselves are all portable. Even the milk stall is portable. It has been very difficult to track down any information related to a portable, 100% grass-based, grain-free dairy. I have to actively pursue information from various outlets and piece together information to continue to develop our working system. I first started by completing a four month internship at another farm that opened the portal to this amazing adventure. I am constantly reading about other farms and operations that I take little tidbits here and there to implement in our system as well. I have taken the basic concepts of rotational grazing from other farmers but I have had to fine tune the basics to match the needs of our animals and soil. Right now the cows get moved twice a day to effectively maximize grazing through mob-stocking to capture the most nutritional stages of grass and forage growth. We also have a free choice mineral box that gets moved with the herd so that cows can choose which minerals they need that is lacking in the soil. In turn the minerals consumed by the cows are cycled back to the soil through manure and urine, re-mineralizing our land. The grazed grasses and forages are also recycled back to the land through manure and urine which increases the organic matter in the soil and in turn increases the rain water harvesting potential on our lands. As soil is the largest water storage mechanism known to man. Increasing the organic matter in the soil directly increases the water storage capacity. More water equals more life at all levels, from microorganisms to the trees. Just writing about all of this makes me super excited.
You might be asking yourself, why don't more farmers work this way within a farming enterprise? I don't have all the answers but I can tell you from a conventional stand point here in the United States, all food is produced with quantity-centric equations, NOT quality-centric equations. Milk for example sold in grocery stores is from cows being fed grain at some point throughout their day, mostly in milk stalls. Even milk labeled “grass-fed” can still be fed “sweet feed” (grain-based feed) in a milk stall because of labeling laws enacted by the FDA. This goes for beef as well. Grain inherently increases the amount of milk produced by the cow. More milk means more dollar signs. And this milk is produced at the expense of the cows’ health, consumers, and Nature itself. Not only are cows not designed to handle grain but you need an entire system based of petroleum consuming and polluting machines to cultivate, grow, harvest and process all the grains being produced. The entire conventional model is unnatural.
I am dedicated towards farming in accordance to Nature’s systems. I strive to produce the richest, most nourishing and healthy foods coming off of our land. Although it takes hard work and dedication to make it all happen, the satisfaction and gratification is indescribable. I encourage everyone to come out for a tour to see how our systems work.