Restock Dates: Please see our Farm Blog where we post our weekly newsletter for the latest updates

Market Changes

written by

Ben Simmons

posted on

January 7, 2024

Good Morning from your farmer,

Last week our newsletter was a look back at 2023 here on the farm. It's hard to believe we have been at this since 2010 when we sold our first grass fed beef (notice I did not use the word "finished" because we did not know what that really meant then. All we knew was that Alan Nation said when the steer reached 1000 pounds it was ready for slaughter. haha

Those first several years I can truly say were not our best beef for sure. Yet, many folks stuck with us! Supporting and encouraging us.

Ben-&-Beth.jpg

Our first booth Sept 2010 at the Mississippi Pecan Festival, Richton, MS.

Then, beginning in 2016 - 7 years ago this month - we set up our website through GrazeCart, switched our focus from only selling halves to selling by the piece. Included with that was making our first deliveries starting September 2016.

Back then I had no idea what doors The Lord would open for us - nor would I have imagined we would be serving so many families last year with about 74,000 pounds of beef, pork, chicken, and eggs.

Two groups of folks I would like to express my deepest gratitude for: First, our committed customers! True, many people come and go. However, we still have a few of our original customers from 2010 and many from when we started our website & making local deliveries. Second, are the folks who help us here on the farm. Some help only with slaughter and or processing beef, pork, and chicken. Others focus on eggs. While others primarly help with soil health, grazing, feeding, maintenance, etc. that make this all come together. Beth and I are very grateful and truly blessed.

Friday, I was forwarded an email that Remington-Lott Farms was going out of business. This saddens me because Mississippi desperately needs many more farms raising food to feed its citizens. No, I do not know the reason for their decision. But, I do know they made a positive difference in the communities they served.

Over the holidays there was a big discussion on the Pastured Poultry email listing about an Arkansas farm named Cook's Venture. One of the members is from NW Arkansas and sent an email that CV abruptly shut down all operations and told their "contract" farmers to kill all the chickens and bury them - reports say up to a million chickens.

CV is a venture capitalist farm - you know, money guys that use their money to hire others to do the work. Other members provided details that CV sold product as "pastured" chicken and that they hired field managers from the big poultry integrators who swung production back to conventional CAFO-ish stuff in order to improve profits. However, the contract growers were existing farmers who once grew for the likes of Tyson (their barns were no longer up to Tyson specs) and reverted back to rainsing them the Tyson way vs. pastured.

They did sell through their website, but with a million chickens they most likely sold wholesale to grocery stores, restaurants, etc. as well.

Get this! They are needing government bail outs to chean up their mess!!! That's taxpayer dollars.....to bail out CV bad decision(s).

Sadly, this whole thing is a pointless tragedy. In Decatur, AR, where CV is based, nearly everyone is involved in poultry some way... then companies like CV comes in with big money and promises of an easy path to a promised land that stirs everything up and disrupts communities. In the end people are worse off than they started and there's a lot of heartache. Needless to say it was a difficult holiday season for many.

What our country needs are thousands of small family farms serving their communities with healthy food raised naturally and sold locally.

** Product Availability Update **

NOTE: Restocks are made about 6 PM on the dates indicated below!

Chicken - Next restock will be January 24, 2024. Yes, we will be raising chickens throughout the winter months. NOTE we pushed out the Jan 10th restock as the chickens are growing slower with the weather changes

Turkey - Whole turkeys are sold out. We will use our jan 9th USDA slaughter date to harvest some turkeys. Be on the lookout for pieces and ground turkey next week

Eggs - Restock each Wednesday. Received 950 new pullet hens Thursday, Nov 9th. Starting to get small to medium eggs

Beef - Fully Stocked. Next restock will be January 19, 2024

Pork -Fully Stocked - except for bacon

Lamb - Restocked September 13th. Scheduled to process lamb in November, but this has been delayed. Probably Mar 2024

More from the blog

Are Foreign Imports "Local"?

It may surprise you that I do receive AND read several weekly newsletters from other farms that I know and trust. Last week, Paul Brown who owns Nourished By Nature in Bismark, ND (son of Gabe Brown) wrote a really good article on import beef and he agreed to let me share with my customers. So, here goes! If you recall, the last newsletter we sent out referred to the statistic that today, only 2% of the population in the US produces food for the entire country (plus imports) as compared to 17% in 1940. This is unprecedented and it makes me wonder, what happened over the last 80 years? And where will we be in another 80? No wait, how about 10 years??? Will all US food production be outsourced?

Product Updates & More

First, a quick followup from last week's email where I shared my letter to Sec. Watson. This generated a lot of interest and response from our customers - ALL very positive and thankful for us taking the stand we do. Several customers also shared that they were personal friends with Sec. Watson and would contact him regarding our farm. So far, I have not heard from him. Cindy shared the following: Thank you for speaking out about issues that many of us are very upset about and feel like we have no voice. Hopefully, Secretary Watson will actually do something. In my opinion, Farm Bureau is against most Mississippians. They were against the illegal land sales to the Chinese and other foreign countries who want to harm us. I was at the meeting at the Capitol a few months ago and saw it firsthand. They are against any legislation to protect pets, such as dogs and cats, from animal abusers, in addition to the chicken and dairy issues you mentioned above. I am no fan at all of Farm Bureau. They are a detriment to our state. But they have a powerful lobby and lots of friends in influential places . And lots of farmers, big farmers, are fans. I have always been a fan of ag commissioner Gipson and I expect he will run for governor one day. I’m not sure if it’s a political play, but it seems that he is quiet on most of these issues. One exception is the Land deals, because he did chair those groups and hold the hearings.

Letter To Sec. Watson MS Secretary of State

This week I received an email from Sec. Watson regarding his offices' plan and successes in eliminating administrative and MS Code bottlenecks that hold back business growth. He also asked for input on areas that affect our business. Have you ever heard the saying, "Be Careful What You Ask For?" Well, here is my response to Sec. Watson. I'm still waiting to hear back from him - which I truly hope will happen. Sec. Watson, first let me thank you for aggressively tackling these tough issues. Too many politicians today are mere pawns of