June 16, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
Hey, Ben here. Just a few quick updates from the farm today! As you know, we are in the process of building a USDA small on-farm poultry processing facility. This is mostly a self-help project where I have hired a contractor for his skill and expertise and am his helper. Some of the areas we are taking care of ourselves. One of the task required us to extend the metal quinset hut 12'. The steel arrived last Saturday and since the contractor was tied up elsewhere on Wednesday, Beth, her dad and I installed 5 of the 6 arches that span 40' wide and 16' high. We have been working very hard to get our facility to the point we can process chickens by Friday. This has consumed our time over the past 3 weeks
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June 8, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
e have some really big news to share with you about chicken, but first let me give you a brief history of our efforts to improve our ability to provide our customers our really good chicken. May 2012 we produced our first pastured chicken. We thought we would be doing great to sell 500 and we actually sold our limit of 1000. February 2016 Daniel Doyle invited us to attend the Farmer's Drive-in at the State Capital where we meet key Senate & House members including Senator Hudson, Chairman of the Senate Ag. Committee. He committed to visit our farm in May which he did. He introduced me to Senator Hill and together we worked on a bill to change MS law to match the Federal Exemption of 20,000 per farm/year. January 2017 I made a presentation before the Senate Ag. Committee
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June 2, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
Research by the National Institutes of Health and published in the journal Cell Metabolism, indicates that people consumed significantly more calories & gained more weight when they ate diets high in ultra-processed foods compared to when they ate minimally processed and whole foods. Research participates eating highly processed foods consumed an extra 500 calories per day. They gained an average of 2-pounds per day when eating foods such as breakfast cereals, muffins, white bread, sugary yogurts, low-fat potato chips, canned foods, processed meats, fruit juices and diet beverages. Almost all the extra calories came from carbohydrates and fat. Researchers said these foods caused a rise in hunger hormones compared to a diet that contained minimally processed foods such as
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May 25, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
The saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words"! The Spring of 2013 John Wood who owns US Wellness Meats visited our farm. During the visit he introduced me to the GrassFed Exchange and the annual conference. He said if I would attend he would use his points to buy my ticket. Did I mention the conference would be in Bismark and feature a tour of Brown's Ranch? I have been very pleased with how my pastures have responded this Spring. While looking back at my notes from the 2013 conference and farm tour a couple of things stuck out. First, don't expect to see much improvement until after 5 years. And, if you continue to follow the principles the improvement accelerates - meaning it keeps getting better. That is exciting! Secondly, I reviewed the Rainfall Simulator demonstration at Gabe's Ranch. Let me que this up for you.
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May 18, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
Since February, our pastures have really excelled. Currently, the Persian Clover is in bloom. It produces a purple flower with a very sweet lavender smell. Every aspect of this clover supports its reputation for excellent forage quality. Mature stems are soft, hollow and have thin structural plant cell walls, leading it to be more digestible than red clover or alfalfa. Some common forage tests boast CP 16-21%. Not to mention, studies have shown persian clover to be more palatable than rape, alfalfa, fescue or perennial ryegrass. High productivity during March- April, provides excellent regrowth potential into early June following grazing. Given the right circumstances, one could expect Persian clover to naturally reseed and be redistributed by wind/water via its very mobile, light weight, seed pods. Spring flowers are known to also attract flower flies, which larva are a leading predator of aphids. Our pastures have supported an amazing weight gain on our steers this Spring.
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May 11, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
Today I want to share updates about our chickens. Many customers when they visit our farm are surprised to learn that our chicks are shipped to us by the USPO. They typically are shipped the same day they hatch (usually on Tuesday) and arrive on Thursday's. We receive a phone call about 6:30 AM from the Petal Post Office that our chicks have arrived and please come get them. The top left picture is one of two crates of baby chicks. The first thing we do when unpacking is make sure they take a drink of water. We also hold food back until they have been here about 3-hours - again, to make sure they drink. The picture to the right is from our third batch taken in our new brooder trailer that I built in April. This is our first batch in the new
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May 4, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
Good Morning from the farm! Praise Lord for He is faithful. What an amazing week! What's so amazing? Well, NGF Customers are "The Best". The number of website orders were 73% higher than our previous high month. Plus, nine customers picked up chicken frozen on the delivery route. I'll be honest. I was really concerned about keeping on schedule. Even though Beth & I had planned and worked to make sure everything was accounted for, all I could think about was
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April 27, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
Hey, Ben here -this week I want to share a story written by another farmer. We've shared other farmer stories from time to time as our belief is as "real food" farmers we should be collaborative and not competitive! Besides, I certainly do not have all the knowledge, ideas, etc. We learn from each other. The farmer who wrote this piece is none other than the renowned Joel Salatin himself, the farmer/writer/philosopher of Polyface Farm. Some folks call Joel the most famous farmer in the world, or the most eclectic thinker from Virginia since Thomas Jefferson. Joel calls himself a Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer. I call him my most influential pasture mentor as well as one of my favorite writers. After reading several of his books Beth & I visited his farm July 2011 along with 1,998 other interested folks.
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April 20, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
this week I want to share a farm visit we had from Eric & Morgan, a young couple who lives on the Gulf Coast and are expecting their first child. Eric called a few days earlier to schedule a time to visit. When they arrived I asked their interest and he shared they wanted to start eating local because they have concerns about eating industrial Ag food, especially now expecting their new baby. So, I took them around and showed them what we do, how we handle the animals, and why we pay attention to the details. When Morgan saw the chickens she commented,
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April 13, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
This week Ben shares information on three important agriculture topics. First up is the USDA releases the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Next, pork prices are called higher due to African Swine Flu that will put a serious supply strain on all animal proteins in 2019. Lastly, The USDA FSIS responds to a Washington Post article on pork inspection rule changes. We hope you find this helpful.
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April 6, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
This week I want to update you on various farm activities. The very wet fall & winter we had was hard on our farm. But, Spring is here and it seems El Nino may be moving on. Our diverse forage pastures are responding very good to the warmer temperatures and sunshine and providing plenty of lush grasses and legumes for our steers and nursing momma cows! Sows are busy raising their next litter. Baby pigs are so fun to watch - and fast. They can really scoot. The faster they scoot the faster their oink, oink! The hens are awesome. They hit the ground at daylight
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March 30, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
This week I went to Lucedale to visit with Ethan & his team of artisan meat cutters to shoot a short video of them cutting and packing Nature's Gourmet Farm beef. Unfortunately, because of background noise, we were not able to use some of the audio & video of an important conversation we had. Basically, I was discussing how important it is to let the beef mature before processing. Literature I read when we first started said "at 1000 pounds he's ready to go". Well, that is not true. Two years ago we learned from Dr. Williams (who sells his beef to white table cloth restaurants) that
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