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Author: Ben Simmons

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Very Hardy Animals

Up until about 3 or 4 weeks ago we were experiencing a very mild winter. According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center — a division of the National Weather Service, above-average temperatures are favored across the South and most of the eastern U.S. as La Nina climate conditions have emerged for the second winter in a row. La Nina has moved the jet stream further north allowing warmer air in our area. But, like it does, weather cycles and the cold moved in.

An Ounce Of Prevention

An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure! Boy, how many times did I hear that growing up.... Perhaps the use of the phrase came from my parents interest in Prevention magazine - that was founded in 1950 by J. I. Rodale and was based on his interest in exploring the connection between human health and organic agriculture. No matter the source, the principle is very true. Whatever amount you may spend to prevent an accident, illness, or even death - the cure (if there is one) would cost many times more. This principle drives a lot of what we do here on the farm. Some examples: 1) Our Soil -

A Busy Week At The Farm

This week was chicken processing week. Not a big deal - right? Well, typically that would be correct. However, this processing was much different. It all started about 9 weeks ago when the USPO somehow lost our regular shipment of baby chicks. So, when Farmer Bob (a.k.a. Bob's Bitties) replaced them he not only sent the missing batch, but included a second batch as well. That equals twice the number at one time. No worries. We grew them out as usual. However, as processing day approached we started fretting about how we were going to do all those chickens

Farm Updates & A NEW Item

Today, I want to share some updates from our processing plant. Last week we took the last six pigs (the ones we rescued from NC) to the new processing plant in Leaksville where we had them slaughter only. We then brought the "halves" back to our farm plant for further processing. That's how we spent our time on Tuesday and Wednesday. One of our customers had emailed me Monday with very kind comments regarding his fresh ham that they had cooked and shared with friends over New Year's. Here is what he said; "We served up a Nature’s Gourmet ham for a group of friends on New Years Day. It was incredible.

What's In YOUR Chicken?

How many people really know where their food comes from or how it was raised? My guess would be at least 95% of the population never considers the impact food has on their health and basically considers food - well just food. My thoughts are reinforced from conversations with many of my customers who have shared our farm (and even given samples they purchased) to their family and friends. Should people care?

Highlights Of An "Amazing" Year At NGF

Merry Christmas and hello from your farmer, I want to take a few minutes of your time this morning to say how THANKFUL we are to be a part of so many of your lives. We appreciate your generosity to spend your food dollars with our farm and how you trust and depend on our farm to provide nutritious, naturally-raised beef, pork, chicken, and eggs on pasture where the animals can live their life as God intended. Much of our sales are invested right back into the farm to improve the quality & service we bring to our customers as well as ensure our farm stays viable for years to come. Here are a few highlights I've selected from 2021. Hope you enjoy.

Some NEW Things For 2022!

First, an important ONE-TIME schedule change for January 2022 deliveries. Consistency instills habits. For example, our Gulf Coast routes always deliver on the 1st Saturday of each month, Hattiesburg/Picayune on the 2nd Saturday, and Jackson Metro on the 3rd Saturday. However, January 1st, 2022 is the FIRST Saturday which creates a problem for many folks associated with our largest sales route. So, we have decided to make a ONE-TIME exception to our schedule to deliver our Gulf Coast route the SECOND Saturday

A Peak At Our Soil Fertility Process

Before I discuss our soil fertility process I need to mention a housekeeping event that I will do before year end. After about 2-years with our new email delivery provider we have accumulated more than 2,000 email addresses that our newsletter delivers to each Saturday morning. However, only about 38% actually will open them (probably not the same 38% each week). This is not uncommon! Folks hear about our farm from a friend or do a search and decide to register with every intention of one day placing an order. Then, life happens and pretty soon a year has gone by and they are no longer interested. One of our motivations for cleaning up our registered users is our email delivery provider increases the monthly fee from $49 to $122 when the delivery crosses above 2,000. That's almost $900 per year.

What Get's You Out Of Bed In The Morning?

When I was serving in the Air National Guard and received my letter that I had 20 good years towards started me thinking about whether I continue serving or retire. Back then, most folks I met seemed to only be working for retirement so they could "stay home" without any real objective in mind other than do as little as possible. For me, my health was very good, I was enjoying what I was doing, and l liked being around the people and mission. As the years ticked by I always thought I would know when it was my "time to retire". So, I stayed - for another 16 years. But, I did not retire to sit at home and do next to nothing with my time. I like and need to be busy.

Meet Our Outstanding Team

I like Thanksgiving! Ours this year was really nice... it was so good to visit with family and enjoy each others fellowship. Of course, there were still chores to be done. Chickens that had to be feed & watered as well as moved daily. Eggs to gather, wash, grade, and pack. Cows to hay and pigs to feed. Just to mention a few. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that Beth and I can do it all. However, the farm has grown to the point where we cannot physically do it all by ourselves.

About This Time Each Year

About this time each year our warm season grasses have been grazed down and our cool season grasses have not matured enough to start grazing. Early October marks the end of the growing season for warm season varieties like Bahia Grass. However, because Bahia grass is an excellent stockpiled grass we can extend our grazing season typically into early November. It really depends on how much rain we start getting in November. As you know, our Spring and Summer were very wet. It was so wet that much of the work we wanted (needed) to do in our pastures was delayed.

How Things Are Going At The Farm

One of the first things folks typically ask is "How Are Things At The Farm"? To be honest, things are going really good! An interesting statistic is folks opening our newsletters. Up until about 4 weeks ago we averaged about 550 opens or 26-28% of the folks who receive the newsletter. Since then the number has continuously increased. Last week 776 folks opened our newsletter or 39% of receipts. That is a 41% increase and puts us way ahead of the average open rate of other farms.