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Author: Ben Simmons

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Things That Go BUMP In The Night!

Once a quarter we have a month with 5-weekends instead of 4. That gives us an extra weekend (2 total) between deliveries. Last weekend I was taking it easy because of my wisdom tooth extraction Friday morning - which went really great! This Saturday we have our annual Simmons Family Reunion. It is always good to visit with out of town family and catch up. On the farm our definition of "Things That Go BUMP In The Night" may be different that for those who live in cities. We mostly think of fox, opossum, racoons, coyote, pigs, and maybe someone's lost deer dog. However, there is the occasional sighting of something larger.

Homestead Tsunami?

So, we received a lot of positive feedback from last weeks newsletter regarding Why I Changed My Mind On Yolk Color. If you missed reading it then you can always find it on our homepage under Farm Blog. We also post restock information there each week. Busy week here on the farm. Primary focus has been cutting and packing beef for restock Friday about 6pm. I'm very thankful for our team that comes in to help - without them it would be impossible for us to accomplish. Is your Food Security something you give any thought to? Frankly, the masses do not...they believe all they need to do is simply go to the grocery store. I believe our steady customers are very aware of food security risk in the marketplace in addition to

Why I Have Changed My Mind On Egg Yolk Color

Why I have CHANGED MY MIND on layer feed ingredients to affect egg yolk color! First, how I got started on this topic. As you know, we have had record heat and lack of rain that has negatively impacted our farm - especially the chickens. And with the high night time temperatures the hens did not have any cooling down time. This drastically affected their lay rate to the point we could not fill all orders for our customers. So, I reached out to a Regenerative Farmer Friend in MO

Farm Updates - USDA KIS Test Results

As you know, we had a glitch in our email service a few weeks ago that prevented our weekly newsletter from delivering to your inbox. Based on results from last weeks mailing, it appears the issue has been corrected as the open rate was back in the mid-60% range. Just so you know, our newsletter is also posted to our website's Farm Blog each weekend. Last Saturday Ocean Springs received the rain we need here on the farm. As a farmer,

Could Have Been Devastating!

Good Morning and hello from your farmer, First, let me give a BIG Shout Out to our Madison pickup location. Our Madison customers set a new record for the number of orders this month at 34 families served and also led the month with the most orders per pickup location. Many thanks to ALL customers for your faithful business & support of our farm. So, what could have been devastating? Saturday, as we rounded the last curve before arriving back at the farm I looked back to the North and saw smoke!

Farm Updates - Continued

A few weeks ago our farm newsletter was titled "What Is Too Big"? The basic theme is my belief that food security and farmer profitability, service, etc. is found in many, many small family-size farms than in a few mega farms. For the farmer and consumer, the cost of production is also less. To explain, let me use meat chickens as an example. White Oak Pastures for years have said they lose money on chickens. They have an on-farm USDA processing plant

Farm Updates

Many customers have asked how the animals are doing in this heat! Really, I think they do better than humans. After all, they are outside in the elements regardless what the conditions happen to be. We work in the heat, but live in the air conditioning.... makes a difference. That said, we certainly take the heat affects seriously. Some of the extra things we are doing include:

Come Spend A Few Minutes With Our Yearlings

Last week I updated our use of compost extract on our forages and the positive impact we are starting to see. Compost Extract improves soil health by balancing the biology (living organisms) in the soil that are responsible for nutrient transfer from the soil to plants - among many other things. Compost extract is used in place of chemical fertilizers. Healthy soil is responsible for healthy plants. That was last week's story!

Impact Compost Extract Has On Our Pastures

As you know, our cows, pigs, chickens, and hens all live on pasture where they receive nutrition from the plants, Vitamin D from sunshine, and plenty of fresh air. So, that being the case, it is critical that our pastures provide quality nutrition to grow healthy animals - that means NO chemicals. Regenerating soil is not an easy thing to do. There is always more to learn. For example, last Spring is when I learned about the importance of soil biology and the role they play in making minerals available in a form a plant can use. The learning came from a special soil test called PLFA that identifies the type of biology and overall percentage of each type in your soil. My soil showed heavy concentrations of bacteria and little fungi & protozoa. That means the biology was out of balance and was not able to make nutrients available to the plants.

Who Are Our Competitors?

Last week we shared thoughts on What Is To Big? Meaning, when does a farm become to big that it no longer integrates within the community where it resides. One of the indicators I consider is the number of full time employees. Once a farm (or any business) has more than five FTE employees it adds more government requirements to operate. Which shows up in prices charged to consumers. From a farm perspective, I think about how resilient is the farm. This was a major point in Joel Salatin's key note address at the American

What Is To Big?

In 2014 an investigative reporter by the name of Christopher Leonard published his book titled "The Meat Racket" The Secret Takeover of America's Food Business. Most of his book focuses on Tyson. However, they developed the model that all integrators (meat packers) use today. In Chapter 2 he tells the story of John Tyson as a young married man living with his parents in MO when the Great Depression hit and how his Dad basically told him he had to go out and make his own way as his farm would not support all of them. His Dad gifted him the farm truck and a bale of hay to use for gas money. John was headed to Fort Smith, AR where he heard there were jobs. He ran out of gas in Springdale, AR. In Springdale he started looking for ways to make money with the only asset he had - the farm truck.

Farm Updates

The most asked question is When will you have more chicken? Soon, I promise. the batch received two weeks ago is doing outstanding. These will go to pasture on Monday. And, we received another batch Friday morning about 6:15am and they are also doing very good.. There are two batches on pasture now. We have delayed the processing date for the next batch from July 11th to July 25th so they can grow a bit more. This is a good thing because I have had to purchase a new plucker (used processing equipment is hard to find these days). And, like a lot of things, there is not inventory sitting there waiting for an order like there once was. Fortunately, the new plucker will arrive well in advance of the new processing date of July 25th.