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MS Senate Hearing Update - The Rest of the Story

Farm Update - The meeting that almost did not happen! As you know, I testified before the MS Senate AG Committee Tuesday. However, this meeting almost did not happen because of politics and lobbyist efforts to shut it down. Here is what I was told: First, you have to understand this is an election year!To use rooms in the State Capital the Senators have to reserve them ahead of time through Sen. Terry Burton who is the Senate Pro Tempore. When you Google his name he is listed as a "politician". He has been in the State Senate for 27 years and has a colorful past. The Pro Tempore is #2 over the Senate behind Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves - who is running to be the next MS Governor.Burton sent his secretary and Capital Security to shut down the meeting. Nether Burton or Reeves wanted to be directly tied to their attempt to keep this meeting from happening. However, Senator Hill overcame the opposition and we were able to have the hearing.You can view my slides and notes by clicking here. There were no questions from the Senators.The following folks also testified before the Committee:Rose Hancock, Poultry Farmer, Hancock Farms, Mize, Miss.Nick Wallace, Chef/Culinary Artist/Entrepreneur, Jackson, Miss.Katie Dixon, Chef/Restauranteur, Hattiesburg, Miss.David Raines, Chef/Restauranteur/Custom Butcher, Jackson/Flora, Miss.Mark Leggett, President of the MS Poultry Association, was in attendance. From what I heard, he was furious that the meeting took place. On the Association's website it says they represent the interest of ALL segments of the state's largest agricultural industry. If so, then why do they NOT support small farmers who provide a product that the large processors/ growers do not? We each serve two totally separate markets!North Carolina has proven that both large processors and small direct market farms can coexist because in NC there are >1000 small farms who can process up to the Fed Exemption of 20,000/yr. where Sanderson Farms built their last processing plant in 2017 with a weekly capacity of 1.25 million chickens. Importantly, NC agricultural value is >$85 billion per year or 10.5 times MS agriculture value. If MS equaled NC then our annual agriculture industry would be $75 Billion! Interviews held following the hearing:MS Public Radio - click hereWDAM - click here (note that the footage aired live was not my farm. I called and had them correct using footage from my farm and chickens that you will see in this online version)MS Matters - click hereI also had an interview with the documentary film crew set up by the MS Center for Public Policy that will be available at a later date.Outcome: "I've been reading all of the state laws and regulations to determine what the answer is," Commissioner Gipson said."Today, I don't have the answer. I expect we'll be in discussions with the committee, whether a bill is required or not."So, what do you think? Do you support politicians who what to restrict your food choice to only Big AG that makes large political donations to their campaigns? Or, do you support food freedom! As a consumer, you have two votes. The first is at the ballot box. The second vote is how you spend your food dollars. There is a better way. Eat "Real Farm Foods" grown by a Local farmer you know and trust.Lastly- I want to thank each of you who wrote to let us know you are praying for us. We appreciate your prayers very much and put our faith in God for the outcome.Customer Feedback- "I will pray for you as you testify in front of the MS Ag committee. May you be successful and have favor with God and man as Jesus did. " ~B SmithQuote Worth Re-Quoting – “Republican Senator Angela Hill of Picayune is on the Agriculture Committee. She says she hopes Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson will make the call in favor of the small farmers and chefs. "Um that's the worst thing we could be doing is hindering our people who farm more naturally from getting their products to market and that's what we have been doing in the state of Mississippi. If it's okay for the USDA and it's okay for 40 other states it ought to be okay for Mississippi,' said Hill."  As always, thank you for supporting our regenerative, local farm.Ben & Beth

Did You Hear The Big News This Week?

Upcoming events: August 21st I will testify before the MS Senate AG Committee in Jackson and then be interviewed by the documentary film crew. Farm Update - we processed our chicken in our new facility Friday. After working out a few bugs it went very well. We have also added a vacuum sealer vs. heat seal bags. This will provide a much tighter seal. This time only half of the chickens were vacuum sealed as not all the bags I ordered would work. Also, many customers have requested to buy chicken by the piece vs. whole. So, we have added the following items to our store. For your convenience I have listed our price as well as another local farm and an out of state farm. Item        NGF         Local Farm        Out of State Farm Breast     $8 lb        $12.99 lb          $8.75 lb Leg Qtr   $5 lb        $5.99 lb            $6.00 lb Backs      $2.75 lb   $2.89 lb           $4.50 lb (soup bones) Wings     $4.50 lb    $5.99 lb           $4.60 lb Feet      $2.75 lb    $2.99 lb            $5.75 lb Liver/heart $3.75 lb $3.99 lb $4.50 lb Items have been added to our store and can be delivered next Wednesday! BIG News This Week - I have always believed the agriculture chemical/GMO issue was very similar to the tobacco industry. It includes a popular product that is deemed safe by USDA, FDA, AMA, and etc. It is touted by institutions and organizations as great for the economy and farmers. Then, we start to learn about deception and cover up of research. Health issues are on the rise but the main stream news does not link the cause to the problem. Then, you have folks who start waving the flag saying there is a problem and THIS is what is causing all the health issues. They do not get much attention at first - then more folks start stepping up and agreeing! The companies, institutions, organizations, etc. start defending the product and criticize the folks who linked the issue to the cause. Oh, don't forget the politicians! Then, a lawsuit is filed against the industry (company) and a jury awards a huge settlement. Suddenly the president is set for thousands of other lawsuits and what was once acceptable is now unacceptable. The "cat is out of the bag" so to speak. That is what happened in CA this week. A jury awarded a California groundskeeper $289.2 million in a landmark lawsuit claiming Monsanto's weed killer Roundup causes cancer. Jurors believed Monsanto knew or should have known about the potential risks the product posed. There are more than 4,000 pending lawsuits waiting for trial and I am sure there will be many more. When I first joined the Air Force in 1976 smoking in building, airplanes, etc. was common. Then, in the early 1980's things begin to change. Advertising could no longer be directed to children/teenagers. If I remember correctly, the first lawsuits against big tobacco started in the early 1990's. Today, it is uncommon and sometimes illegal to smoke in buildings, airplanes, etc. Even the town of New Augusta near my farm is a smoke free town! It takes time and a paradigm shift. Your can read the complete article here. Today, more than 95% of the "food" that folks eat contains way to much chemicals, is not grown sustainable, is not environmentally friendly, does not suppress/ hold carbon, has many of the nutrients processed out of it, creates a lot of packaging for landfills, is shipped on average 1500 miles, and etc. AND many folks have raised the flag saying this is the reason for the increased health issues we see today. There is a better way. Eat "Real Farm Foods" grown by a Local farmer you know and trust. Customer Feedback- "I picked up our first order of beef on May 30, 2018. I have cooked two pounds of ground beef and one two-pound sirloin tip roast. This is the best beef I have ever eaten! Excellent flavor and melt in your mouth tender. My husband grew up on a cattle ranch in Kansas and he is also very impressed with your beef. We will not hesitate to purchase again and highly recommend to anyone considering purchasing from you. Looking forward to also purchasing chicken and pork." ~N Witt Quote Worth Re-Quoting – “Carey Gillam, an investigative journalist and author of a new book, “Whitewash,” that details Monsanto's history with this chemical and the revelations found in the company's internal records, tells FOX Business that Johnson’s case shined a public spotlight on Monsanto’s attempt to cover up studies linking the chemical with the disease for decades. With this verdict and more than 4,000 other plaintiffs waiting in the wings, Monsanto could be in court for decades to come and it could cost them and its new owner, Bayer, hundreds of millions – if not billions – of dollars in damages." As always, thank you for supporting our regenerative, local farm. Ben & Beth

Our Passion

Upcoming events: August 20th a documentary film crew will be at our farm August 21st I will testify before the MS Senate AG Committee in Jackson. Our Passion begins with the soil as the source of nutrient dense and thus healthy food for animals and families. Healthy soils means there are certain things you do and DO NOT DO in order to regenerate the nutrient cycle and water cycle in the soil. Things we do not do are tillage, mono-culture forages, apply chemicals (certain weeds we bushhog and some like smut grass we dig up by hand). Our ecological footprint is healthy - clean water, clear air, no pollutants or chemical runoff into waterways! We are passionate about proper care of the animals entrusted to us. We spend time with them to earn their trust which helps in handling. We do not beat them, chase them with 4-wheelers or dogs, etc. We know the best way to keep them healthy is to provide healthy pastures and rotate frequently to break any parasite cycles. Thus, we do not need drugs to prop them up. Manure & urine is spread across pastures (cows return up to 70% of the nutrients back to the soil) which supports soil health. We are passionate about sharing dangers in the industrial food system with our customers and providing information & research supporting the value of eating "Real Farm Food". Currently, the processed food industry is controlling the message most Americans hear & see - thus, they are not aware of the dangers and health risk associated with processed foods. About 95% of what is sold in grocery stores and through restaurants are industrial processed foods. A BIG red flag! We are passionate about "advocating" for your food freedom rights! We see this as key to improving the health of families who need access to nutrient dense food. Many parts of the USA - like MS - do not have adequate food choices. In MS it is mostly due to the grip food processors have on our legislative process as well as agriculture department. MS needs more farms like Nature's Gourmet Farm. Lastly, we are passionate about sharing our methods and hard lessons learned with others who are interested in raising nutrient dense food for their communities. We have helped many who have visited and have several more scheduled to come. Do you share our passions? Are you committed to the value of eating healthy Real Farm Food? Let me encourage you to think about supporting a local farmer the next time you shop at your grocery store. Have you placed your order for August 22nd Delivery? Customer Feedback- "The quality of the meats is unsurpassed. The eggs are the best available. These products are not only better for you, they taste much better too!." ~David Quote Worth Re-Quoting – “The old and honorable idea of 'vocation' is simply that we each are called, by God, or by our gifts, or by our preference, to a kind of good work for which we are particularly fitted." Wendell Berry As always, thank you for supporting our regenerative, local farm. Ben & Beth

The Faux Faith of Modern Science

Upcoming events:August 6th I will speak to the Petal Rotary ClubAugust 20th a documentary film crew will be at our farmAugust 21st I will testify before the MS Senate AG Committee in Jackson. The Faux Faith of Modern Science is the title of an Opinion piece recently published in Acres U.S.A. magazine. The article was written by Maryam Henein, an investigative journalist and cofounder and editor-in-chief of HoneyColony (honeycolony.com). She is a functional medicine coach, best known for directing the award-winning documentary film Vanishing of the Bees. The following are excerpts from her article:1) Think very carefully the next time your physician prescribes you a pill. Corporate influence, conflicts of interest, ego and greed have corrupted the science of science if you will. The results are misinformation and studies designed to produce favorable results - and not for the health of the individual.2) "It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgement of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines," states Dr. Marcia Angell, the former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine. "I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor," she wrote in a 2009 piece titled "Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption."3) Clinical Trials: in 2014, 4.3 billion prescriptions were filled by Americans at a cost of $374 billion. Research by Johns Hopkins found that "the drug and device industry now funds six times more clinical trials than the federal government." What this means is that drug manufactures and private investors are funding more clinical trials that they have a personal stake in," "This bias has led to trial data being skewed, test being ill-performed, or key findings being left out of reports" states Caitlin Hoff, Health & Safety Investigator for ConsumerSafety.org4) Marketing Medicine: Pharmaceutical companies put more money into marketing than research and development. Example: Pfizer reported $67 billion in revenue in 2011, spent $9 billion on research and development, and spent $19 billion on marketing. According to IMS Health, drugmakers spent $4.3 billion to reach consumers and $6.6 billion on promotions. Impact - prescription drug spending in the United States increased from $40 billion in 1990 to $234 billion in 2008.To read the full-length version of this Opinion piece or to learn more, with links to source materials, visit www.ecofarmingdaily.com/category/opinion Customer Feedback- "The quality of the meats is unsurpassed. The eggs are the best available. These products are not only better for you, they taste much better too!." ~DavidQuote Worth Re-Quoting – “The old and honorable idea of 'vocation' is simply that we each are called, by God, or by our gifts, or by our preference, to a kind of good work for which we are particularly fitted." Wendell BerryAs always, thank you for supporting our regenerative, local farm.Ben & Beth

Four Principles

Farm Update – Hard to believe that July has come and gone! Deliveries this week went very good. Many new customers as well as familiar faces! We appreciate you choosing Nature's Gourmet Farm for your beef, pork, chicken, and eggs.Four Principles: when we first started the farm in 2009 much of the information I found was mostly conventional. After a few seasons it was evident that model was not sustainable nor was it enjoyable! So, I started looking for alternatives and found The Stockman Grass Farmer and read about folks like Joel Salatin, Jim Gerrish, and Greg Judy. I read their books and then July 2011 Beth & I visited PolyFace Farms in VA. Boy were our eyes opened up. There were about 2,000 people there that day and Joel did a great job explaining all the what and whys.The next year I was introduced to The GrassFed Exchange where I have meet so many excellent mentors in Regenerative Agriculture. Folks who have turned their farms around beginning with the soil. What a difference it makes. I say all this to introduce my Four Principles:1) Do they own the land2) Do they own the animals3) Do they invest their own capital into their farm4) Are they successfulKey learning was 95% of the conventional information is written by folks that cannot answer yes to most if not all of these statements. Conventional information is written to fuel Big Ag! Which is not healthy for the land, the animals, and people that consume processed food. Nor, is it sustainable. It is an addiction to the chemical and pharma of big business.Many are realizing this and have sought out local farms to source Real Farm Food for their families. Upcoming events:August 6th I will speak to the Petal Rotary ClubAugust 20th a documentary film crew will be at our farmAugust 21st I will testify before the MS Senate AG Committee in Jackson. Customer Feedback- "This family owned operation is top notch! They raise grass fed pasture raised beef, chicken, and pork. You can tell the difference in quality grass fed pasture raised meat. It’s so much better for you and the way the good Lord intended us to eat. The fact that they are right here in my home state makes it even better. I will continue to purchase all my meat and eggs from Ben and his family." ~JakeQuote Worth Re-Quoting – “Agriculture changes the landscape more than anything else we do. It alters the composition of species. We don't realize it when we sit down to eat, but that is our most profound engagement with the rest of nature." Michael PollenAs always, thank you for supporting our regenerative, local farm.Ben & Beth

Farm Update

Farm Update – We thank you for your great comments from our video last week. We believe it is important to be transparent about what we do and honest in our dealings. Additionally, we try to always greet you with a warm smile, friendly greeting, and thank you for your business. We appreciate you choosing Nature's Gourmet Farm for your beef, pork, chicken, and eggs. Upcoming events: August 6th I will speak to the Petal Rotary Club. August 21st I will testify before the MS Senate AG Committee in Jackson. The picture above is Beth gathering eggs. This is done everyday - regardless the weather! She then grades them, cleans any that may be dirty, and packages into cartons. She works very hard to bring you great tasting and healthy eggs for your family - free of any chemical and medicated stuff. It's time to get to work. Remember, the online store closes Monday at midnight for next Wednesday delivery so get your orders in today. Hope you have a blessed day. Customer Feedback- "I enjoy the experience of purchasing my beef, pork and chicken from a local farm. I stock my freezer and enjoy it all year. Nature's Gourmet Farm makes it so easy." ~Susan Quote Worth Re-Quoting – “The shorter the chain between raw food and fork, the fresher it is and the more transparent the system is". Joel Salatin As always, thank you for supporting our regenerative, local farm. Ben & Beth

The Art of Science

Farm Update – Inventory control is one farm principle we use at the farm. Inventory is rotated to insure the oldest cuts are sold first (First-in First-out). Our freezer is separated by beef, pork, and chicken. And then by cut within beef, etc. Boxes from the processor are marked with the cut & date so we can easily keep this straight. After our monthly deliveries are made I organize the remaining stock and take an inventory that is then updated on my website. We want our inventory to be accurate to insure you are not shorted at delivery. Then, when you place an order, our website allocates inventory to your order and takes in out of available inventory for sale.The Art of Science - when in school science was not a favorite subject for me and really does not come easy. At the GrassFed Exchange Conference this year we heard from a very interesting scientist named Jonathan Lundgren, Ph.D.Dr. Lundgren is an agroecologist, Director ECDYSIS Foundation, and CEO for Blue Dasher Farm. He received his PhD in Entomology from the University of Illinois in 2004, and was a top scientist with USDA-ARS for 11 years. Lundgren received the Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering by the White House. Lundgren has served as an advisor for national grant panels and regulatory agencies on pesticide and GM crop risk assessments. Lundgren has written 107 peer-reviewed journal articles, authored the book “Relationships of Natural Enemies and Non-prey Foods”, and has received more than $3.4 million in grants.During his early years with USDA-ARS he practiced "industrial" agriculture. Then, he visited a regenerative farm that mimic's natural ecosystems and was amazed at the difference. It challenged his science! So, he started studying these natural systems and writing about them. He quickly received pressure from "Big Ag" and was eventually forced to leave USDA-ARS. One of the slides he used at the conference said: Science is ManipulatedThe Tobacco industry helped revolutionize the art of obscuring data-driven discussions 1. Obscure inconvenient studies 2. Discredit and intimidate inconvenient scientists Bottom line is the Big Ag machine went after Dr. Lundgren because he challenged the status quo that would affect their pocket book. Note that the Big Ag machine is driven by Corporations but includes government, politicians, insurance companies, lobbyist, etc. or basically anyone that benefits from the sale of convention or industrial agriculture.After leaving USDA-ARS Dr. Lundgrne started Blue Dasher Farms and has trained 5 post-docs and 12 graduate students from around the world. One of his priorities is to make science applicable to end-users, and he regularly interacts with the public and farmers regarding pest and farm management and insect biology. Lundgren’s research and education programs focus on assessing the ecological risk of pest management strategies and developing long-term solutions for sustainable food systems. His ecological research focuses heavily on conserving healthy biological communities within agroecosystems by reducing disturbance and increasing biodiversity within cropland. Customer Feedback- "I picked up our first order of beef on May 30, 2018. I have cooked two pounds of ground beef and one two-pound sirloin tip roast. This is the best beef I have ever eaten! Excellent flavor and melt in your mouth tender. My husband grew up on a cattle ranch in Kansas and he is also very impressed with your beef. We will not hesitate to purchase again and highly recommend to anyone considering purchasing from you. Looking forward to also purchasing chicken and pork.." ~Cindy Quote Worth Re-Quoting – “Your body is equipped with powerful healing mechanisms that will typically self-correct most health problems, if you provide it with the nutrients it was designed for and requires”. Dr. Joseph Mercola As always, thank you for supporting our regenerative, local farm. Ben & Beth

Refreshing!

Farm Update – As you read this, Beth and I will wrapping up and returning from the Grass Fed Exchange Conference in Rapid City, SD. The conference has been extremely rewarding and productive. The SD Grasslands Coalition was a tremendous local partner. The tours were impressive and showcased stewardship, hard work, and commitment to protecting The Great Plains ecosystem. Many organizations to include ranchers, non-profit, and government organizations are actively engaged and working together - truely amazing! Presentations were informative with many takeaways. I will share more about that later. No doubt the greatest benefit is the relationships made. Continuing Education is a strategic objective that helps us provide a quality product, regenerate our land and properly care for our animals as well as sustain our business for the next generation. Have you made July 4th plans with family and friends? It's time to get your shopping done for some great tasting burgers, steaks, ribs, etc. from Nature's Gourmet Farm. June 27th is our next delivery - just in time for your July 4th celebration. Customer Feedback- "I did alot of research on where to buy grass fed/pasture raised and was overwhelmed by the whole process. I am glad I chose Ben and Nature's Gourmet Farm. Their website is easy to use/navigate and they deliver to multiple locations making pickup much easier for me. I've tried the chuck roast soo far and it is very tender! I can never go back to buying typical grocery store meats. I feel great knowing that I am getting good quality meats with good nutrition for me and my family. I am also happy that Nature's Gourmet Farm is passionate about their work and believe in being a restorative farm. I am all for humanely raised animals and soils the way they are suppose to be!". ~Phi N Quote Worth Re-Quoting – “The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.”. Wendell Berry As always, thank you for supporting our regenerative, local farm. Ben & Beth

What are your July 4th Grilling Plans

So, did you watch any of the videos from last weeks newsletter? All were equally good from their perspective. The Magic Pill especially hit home for me because it clearly described the #1 cause of peoples health issues - processed food - and provided a simple solution. Demonstrated results were shown what can happen when processed foods are replaced with grass fed meats and healthy vegetables & fruit. Today, a customer told me it is hard to convince family & friends - maybe invite them over to watch The Magic Pill and serve some NGF beef, pork, or chicken. This year the GrassFed Exchange will be back in South Dakota where it started 10 years ago. Kate's family has been ranching there for 3-generations. That is no small feat. This year I am looking forward to several presentations to include: Jonathan Lundgren, Blue Dasher Farms Christine Jones, Soil Health Nina Teicholz, The Big Fat Surprise Clay Nash & Allen Williams, Grassfed Carcass Quality Grading Continuing Education is a strategic objective that helps us provide a quality product, regenerate our land and properly care for our animals as well as sustain our business for the next generation. Have you made July 4th plans with family and friends? It's time to get your shopping done for some great tasting burgers, steaks, ribs, etc. from Nature's Gourmet Farm. June 27th is our next delivery - just in time for your July 4th celebration. Customer Feedback- "I did alot of research on where to buy grass fed/pasture raised and was overwhelmed by the whole process. I am glad I chose Ben and Nature's Gourmet Farm. Their website is easy to use/navigate and they deliver to multiple locations making pickup much easier for me. I've tried the chuck roast soo far and it is very tender! I can never go back to buying typical grocery store meats. I feel great knowing that I am getting good quality meats with good nutrition for me and my family. I am also happy that Nature's Gourmet Farm is passionate about their work and believe in being a restorative farm. I am all for humanely raised animals and soils the way they are suppose to be!". ~Phi N Quote Worth Re-Quoting – “The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.”. Wendell Berry As always, thank you for supporting our regenerative, local farm. Ben & Beth

Can It Really Be That Simple?

Farm Update – Today I want to introduce you to three documentaries found on Netflix. They are well worth your time. What if most modern diseases are really just symptoms of the same problem? The Magic Pill follows doctors, patients, scientists, chefs, farmers and journalists from around the globe who are combating illness through a paradigm shift in eating. And this simple change – embracing fat as fuel. LOOK & SEE: A Portrait of Wendell Berry is a documentary film of the world as lensed through the works of farmer, writer and activist Wendell Berry. Shot across four seasons of farming, this documentary features interviews and observations about writer Wendell Berry’s agrarian lifestyle. A vital investigation of the economic and environmental instability of America’s food system, from the agricultural issues we face — soil loss, water depletion, climate change, pesticide use — to the community of leaders who are determined to fix it. Sustainable is a film about the land, the people who work it and what must be done to sustain it for future generations. Customer Feedback- (regarding Ag Commissioner visit) "Thank you for pursuing this avenue. We value you, your time, your family and your products highly!!! This is an awesome step forward!" ~B SmithQuote Worth Re-Quoting – “Always in the big woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient fear of the Unknown, and it is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into.”. Wendell BerryAs always, thank you for supporting our regenerative, local farm. Ben & Beth Simmons

Farm Update

A big decision we made back in the Spring was to sell our hay equipment which we have done. Cutting hay is counter-productive to growing soil health even when you feed it back onto your pastures. And, it takes a lot of time - about 1.3 hours per acre. A bigger problem concerns scheduling. With the trips to Attala for processing and deliveries that are set dates it is hard to schedule time to cut hay - then there is the weather to consider. There are plenty of folks who love to cut and sell hay so we have decided to buy our hay needs and import those nutrients onto our pastures. Of course our 1st objective is to have grass for grazing. Hay is a backup to grazing for drought or periods of extreme cold when the grass does not grow. Some of the capital from the hay equipment will finance a "new to us" freezer and processing room for chickens. The freezer and panels for the processing room delivers today. There will be some concrete, plumping, and electrical work to accomplish as well. All should be accomplished before the July processing date. Many are asking about our eggs! Well, the heat has caused the size to drop and some of the older hens have stopped laying. As you know, we did add 350 pullets a few weeks back. They are starting to lay small to medium eggs. Please be patient. We will have eggs for our June pickup schedule for sure. This is the BIG week we have been waiting for. Mississippi's new Agriculture Commissioner visits our farm this week. I am looking forward to getting to know him and sharing concerns about issues we face. From what I have heard, our farm is his first visit and folks are watching close to see his response. Please pray that God will use us and our farm to open hearts and minds. Customer Feedback- "Real food the way it was intended", Obtaining high quality food from high quality people right from the community in which we live.....WOW..... what more could you ask for? The flavor and tenderness is superb in both the beef and pork offers. No need to cover the meats with excessive seasonings and marinades.....lightly season with your favorite herbs then sit back and enjoy the natural flavors. ~J Bazor Quote Worth Re-Quoting – “Always in the big woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient fear of the Unknown, and it is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into.”. Wendell Berry As always, thank you for supporting our regenerative, local farm. Ben & Beth

Because People Need To Know

Never would I have thought MS Agriculture was so political. I thought our elected officials would all want what is best for MS Citizens and would want to support small farms. Right? Well, that has not been my experience with Cindy Hyde-Smith and the agriculture department she led. Many of you know that for 2-years I have worked with Senators Hill and Hudson to change MS law to allow on-farm processing up to 20,000 chickens per year vs. the current 1,000 - and be able to sell them into retail. Currently, 40+ states allow up to 20,000 chickens per farm each year. However, after SB2060 passed the Senate Ag Committee unanimously - Cindy Hyde-Smith called Senator Dean Kirby and told him to kill SB2060 - thus voting AGAINST Small Farms and MS Citizens and FOR large political donors like Sanderson Farms. So, who does she REALLY protect? Sanderson Farms is a MS corporation and one of the top three largest chicken processors in the USA. They opened their last plant in NC in 2017 with a weekly capacity of 1.25 million chickens. The total capacity for all 12-plants is 12.5 million chickens per WEEK. NC has a strong small farm presence with 1000+ direct marketing farms. This suggest Sanderson is not concerned about any impact small chicken producers would have on their business. Frankly, we both operate in different markets! Back in MS, the few farms that I know who direct market chicken - 1-has quit and 3-are struggling. These are young families who have a dream and invested a lot of effort to raise healthy food. MS needs more of these young folks but, that want happen until roadblocks like Smith are removed and laws are changed. Based on my direct experience with Cindy Hyde-Smith, the only vote she deserves is a vote to go home! Some positive news! You have read quotes I have used before from Wendell Berry. He recently turned 83, is a farmer and author with about 30 books published and who lives in KY. Recently, I watched a 1-hour show about Mr. Berry on Netflex - do a search for Wendell Berry and find the show titled "Look and See". It is a very good and well worth your time. In the show they played a recording from 1974 by then Sec. of Ag Butz that he wanted to put PROFIT back into agriculture. Sec. Butz is also credited with our current industrial ag model. So, I went back into USDA data and found in 1974 the farmer's percentage of the retail food dollar was about 36%. In 2015 the farmer's percent was 15.6%. By the way, the farmers percentage has not been anywhere near 36% since Butz industrialized agriculture. Customer Feedback- We've tried Nature's Gourmet Farm's beef, eggs, pork, and sausages, they are all very tasty. The meats are tender and easy to cook. It's good to eat food that's directly from a farm. You can't get anything fresher. Thank you very much, Ben and Beth! ~A Tull Quote Worth Re-Quoting – “As I see, the farmer standing in his field, is not isolated as simply a component of a production machine. He stands where lots of lines cross – cultural lines. The traditional farmer, that is the farmer who was first independent, who first fed himself off his farm and then fed other people, who farmed with his family and who passed the land on down to people who knew it and had the best reasons to take care of it... that farmer stood at the convergence of traditional values... our values.”. Wendell Berry As always, thank you for supporting our regenerative, local farm. Ben & Beth