2019 0105 Farm Updates & NY Resolutions

January 5, 2019

Farm Updates! - What will our winter weather forecast be? The Old Farmers Almanac predicted a colder than normal winter. The New Farmers Almanac was calling for a milder winter. And, the Climate Prediction Center predicted that a weak El Nino would develop the fall of 2018.

So, what is an El Nino? El Nino is an ocean-atmosphere climate interaction that is linked to periodic warming in sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. During the winter, typical El Nino conditions in the U.S. can include wetter-than-average precipitation in the South and drier conditions in parts of the North. ***I would say CPC nailed it***

Wetter conditions however is an understatement! It has presented significant challenges to our farm. It started last fall. I like to start planting winter cool season mixes by early September but was delayed due to rain. This year, my goal was to plant about 230 acres that would feed the cows vs. depending on hay only.

The first 80 acres planted failed - mostly due to wet conditions. This was going to be my early grazing pastures. So, we had to go to plan B - feed hay until the later planted pastures matured enough to start grazing. I had most of a load of hay left from last year and had already purchased 3 additional loads for a total of 150 bales. A good start but not enough to feed the cows daily for what is looking to be 3-months. I also had asked the farmer to call me before selling out his hay inventory.

Little did I know that Texas had been coming to MS and buying up ALL the available hay - including from my "secured" source. So, when I started looking for more hay I was surprised how little there is available. What I have found is actually good hay but is in large bales that cannot be transported via interstate back to TX and have purchased 100 bales. Basically, it has cost me twice to feed the cows so far this winter. First, the failed grass and second additional hay expense.

The flash flood we received last week was the worst I know of since we moved here in 1969. It came fast and left fast. The picture above is where it took out one of the branch fence crossings as well as the field fence across the branch - including pulling up a RR Cross-tie corner post that was concreted into the ground. Across the farm I have 6-700 feet of fence down. Beth & I were able to clean off and rebuild the electric fence that holds the pigs - another 800' or so.

The pasture where I'm feeding the cows is being sacrificed and will have to be reworked and planted this spring. It is better to sacrifice one pasture vs. letting them into others only to muddy them up as well.

Please do not mistake my comments for complaining for I have the awesome responsibility as a farmer to faithfully steward the land and animals that God has entrusted to my care - to the best of my ability. That is why my daily prayer is that He will give me wisdom to trust in Him.... "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

New Year's Resolutions - Did you make any NY Resolutions? Was eating healthy on your list? It was obviously on many folks list - since Christmas we have 14 new customers that have signed up on our website and SIX have already placed their orders for January 9th! My phone has been active with numerous calls each day regarding our farm. Thursday a lady originally from MA called and asked really good questions. She had quit eating meat several years ago but was wanting to start back. I could tell from her questions she was very knowledgeable about eating from farms and knew what to ask. For beef included - Mostly English breed cattle, grass fed to finish without any grain, and diverse forage pastures. For pork & chicken included - pasture based, daily moves, and NON-GMO feed.

Cha-ching! Our answers were exactly what she was looking for.

Customer Feedback-
"Hi! I'm brand new to ordering from Nature's Gourmet. (My family and I are moving from Indiana to Hattiesburg on January 2nd.) Thank you for your dedication in providing us with healthy food and treating animals the way they were intended to be cared for. We've been long time supporters of local farms with similar standards to yours in Indiana and Connecticut. I was worried I wouldn't be able to find like minded farmers. I can't tell you enough how you have made my transition MUCH easier (can't place a value on peace of mind when it comes to food quality). I'm anxious to start cooking in my new kitchen! More importantly, I look forward to meeting my new farmers on the 9th!!" Ashley H.

Quote Worth Re-Quoting – “Some people dream of success, while other people get up every morning and make it happen.” ~ Wayne Huizenga

Thank you for supporting our regenerative, local farm.
Ben & Beth

Ben Simmons

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