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Author: Ben Simmons

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UnScrambling Egg Label Claims

If you’ve been to the egg counter in your local grocer lately you have seen all the different egg carton claims. Maybe you wondered what they mean? Today I want to briefly help you make sense of these claims by describing what the actual production definition is. First, what is driving all these claims in the first place? Well, the demand for pasture raised eggs is skyrocketing and affecting commercial egg producers. So, like many other products, commercial producers

Fall IS On The Way!

September has brought us much dryer weather - just what I needed to prep pastures for planting winter grasses. On the new ground we cleared two years ago has been pretty wet ever since. Now, however, most of it is dry enough to get in with the bushhog and shred weeds and small woody trees that sprouted. And, the dry weather is drying out the stems and killing the weeds. All that is left is a nice ground cover on the soil surface to no-till our winter grasses into along with compost extract.

It's About The WHY!

We really enjoy what we do. And are blessed to be able to steward the land and animals to the best of our ability the way God intended. To be a Regenerative Farmer is really cool! I can't imagine farming any other way. To build bioreactors, extract and apply biology back into the soil to stimulate life that will feed the plants that in-turn feeds the animals is really awesome. To raise animals out on pasture where they are able to live their life to the fullness

Changes In Local Meat Processing

Things can change with little to no notice! So, what am I talking about! Well, the processing plant where we have our beef & pork slaughtered has been SOLD. It is a new plant. One that received grant money from through the MS Department of Agriculture LWT program. The plant, located in Leaksville, opened December 2021 and officially changed ownership August 2022. We started hearing rumblings in June and when I dropped off our beef in July the word was official.

Tough Time To Be A Farmer

Last week I shared the thank you note Julie had sent stating how happy she was that we have stayed around for so long! Wednesday was chicken processing day. So, while slaughtering I reflected back on her comments and was recalling all the farms that were operating when we started and how not a one of them are still in operation. Additionally, I can remember several that have started and quit since then.

About This Time Each Year

Last week I mentioned that weeds are not a bad thing. They alert us to possible problems and also work to help solve soil issues. I don't give my attention to weeds in our pastures as they also help create plant diversity. However, there is a plant that I have been battling since coming back to the farm in 2009. Technically, it is a bunch grass and the cows will eat it UNTIL the seed head appears. This bunch grass is a big nuisance! When I first returned in 2009 the pasture

Biology Supersedes Chemistry

One of the most asked questions I get from customers is how can they improve their soils. Today, I want to share some facts, principles, and actions you can use to improve your soil health. My first point is you can have mineral nutrition perfectly balanced on a soil analysis and yet will not grow healthy plants on that soil as long as you have poor biology. Chemistry alone - without biology - does not grow healthy plants. Are you skeptical? Then consider that

The Story How We Got Turkeys

While we expected to add turkeys this year we were not quite ready (more mentally than physically). The characters include Scott & Amy. We got to know each other from when we both attended the same church and they bought a half beef from us. Their son Hunter worked with me two summers ago while waiting to start Air Force Basic Training (he is currently serving in South Korea).

New Babies On The Farm

In the past 10 days or so we have had both pigs and a cow give birth. The cow is about 4-months behind the herd in calving. And, after the calf was born she would not clean the calf up or have anything to do with the calf. When the calf came up to her she would quickly go away. This cow has done this before! Last year her calf was born full term but was very small. She also abandoned this calf as well. I figured it was because she knew something was wrong with the calf. I searched and searched but never found that calf. Needless to say this cow has a new address!

Back In The Day!

This week our team assembled on Wednesday & Thursday to cut and pack our beef that had been dry aging at a cool 37 degrees since July 5th. Tom, a new Madison customer, email Thursday to say they were really enjoying the beef. They had a chuck roast and his kids went crazy for it because it has a lot of flavor. And, the meat has a dry-aged quality that further sets it apart from grocery store beef. Thanks Tom! So, as we were working cutting and packing beef this week - specifically T-bone steaks - I could not help but reflect when I was a young teenager and mom would cook steaks. Dad's favorite was T-bone

Really Bummed Out Friday Afternoon

We all have our Good Days and Bad Days. It is a fact of life. This Friday was a triple bummer day for me. First, about four weeks ago Moises started working for us. I knew in the first few days he was going to be a great addition to our farm. He caught on real quick and took the lead. If he had not performed the task before he watched closely and asked questions to clarify his understanding.

Some Stats That Caught My Attention This Week

Good Morning and hello from your farmer, Most folks may think I have lost my mind! You really think insects are beneficial? Absolutely, in fact according to Dr. Jon Lundgren, founder of Blue Dasher Farm and the Ecodysis Foundation in South Dakota, stated that for every "bad" insect you target with pesticide you are actually killing hundreds or more of beneficial insects. And the unintended consequences of other life that depends on those insects for their food, etc. How would he know this? Well, at one time he worked for the USDA and in 2012 was recognized by the President as one of the top scientist in the world. However, he also recognized USDA policy did not support facts from his research - so he quit his job and started Blue Dasher Farm to support his passion for honeybees. So, let me give you some examples from our farm to support beneficial insects. First, we do not spray pesticides on our pastures to control insects. Last year while at Two Rivers Outdoors in Richton (they sell hardware, lumber, seed, fertilizer, etc.) a farmer was in there buying pesticide to spray armyworms eating his bahiagrass pastures. The word was "armyworms are really bad this year". Two clues here: 1) his pastures are monoculture and nature does not like monoculture 2) this was not his first time to spray... he had already not only killed the armyworms (temporarily) but also all of the beneficial insects that are also predators to the armyworm. I was there buying materials to build chicken tractors and thought - wow, I need to check my pastures. That afternoon I made time to check my pastures. Thankfully, I did not find any armyworms nor signs where they might have been. Why, you may ask? Consider this quote by Dr. Lundgren, "If you want to save the bees you first have to save the soil". Credit has to be given to our commitment to Regenerative Principles. Briefly, our pastures are very diverse including the weeds. We do not till the soil exposing bare ground that releases carbon to the atmosphere and destroying soil biology. This gives us healthy plants without chemicals. Did you know that insects AND disease first attacks weak plants and animals whose immune system is compromised? Guess what! It is no different for humans. We don't worm our cows - because they do not need to be wormed! Worm medicine is known to kill gut biology that also kills the dung beetle. And, dung beetles are responsible for breaking down the cow "patty" and carrying pieces into their hole in the ground (that also helps aerate the soil). Without the dung beetle you loose these beneficial task. Our adaptive (rotational) grazing management practice helps us take care of our cows so they don't need worming. Our cows eat tall grass vs. short grass typical of continuous grazed pastures AND then are moved to a new pasture allowing the previous pasture to rest and break the parasite cycle. I could give you many other examples like not spraying for mosquitoes because the pesticide also kills their natural predator the dragonfly, but your get the point. A serious consideration is: How healthy is your immune system? Do you tend to eat conventionally or regeneratively raised food? Maybe you have been looking for premium ALL NATURAL GOODNESS of beef, pork, chicken, and eggs raised on pasture as God intended - with emphasis on Regenerative Principles and NOT conventionally raised animals (with growth hormones, drugs, chemicals, and antibiotics) - and where animals are treated humanely - then you have come to the right farm. Our delivery schedule and product availability is listed below along with order buttons that will take you to our website where you can browse over 90 product choices and place your order from the convenience of your home. It's that simple! Lastly, Beth & I wish you a Happy Fourth of July and hope you enjoy time with family & friends. As you gather around maybe listen to this song first sung by Kate Smith during WWII in her effort to bring hope to Americans. God Bless America by Kate Smith! Yes, I want to Place My Order Beth & I really appreciate your business and thank you for rewarding our hard work with your trust and support. We look forward to seeing you soon.