Final Report for FNC05-572

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2005: $6,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: North Central
State: Kansas
Project Coordinator:
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Project Information

Summary:

PROJECT BACKGROUND
In 2001, at the ages of 40, John and Yvonne Bauman took their six children (aged 14-1) and bought a farm. All of their family and friends thought this was a ludicrous idea. Everyone in this agricultural county had grown up with the slogan-Get big or get out! The average farmer’s operation had about a minimum of 1,000 acres. We were buying a puny 160 acres. We had raised enough backyard chickens, cows, and sheep to get a taste of farming, but we really had no knowledge of how to run a financially successful farm. But with the help of many neighbors and organizations, we are well on our way to establishing ourselves as a multi-generational sustainable farm. While 5 of the family members still work full-time at the family home furnishings business (owned by John’s dad), we have still managed to grow into a full-time farm with employees only for processing or tour days. As of spring 2008, we have 380 acres under cultivation and organic transition and certification (over half is rented). CVF specializes in organic soybeans, milo, wheat, alfalfa, clover, hay, and straw. CVF is home to Hereford/Angus beef cattle, Jersey dairy cattle, Cornish Cross broilers, Bovain layer chickens, Pekin and K.Campbell ducks, BB White turkeys, and Polypay sheep. All of the livestock are incorporated in the MSPS system, and the ruminant’s diet is 100% organic grass and hay. All of our meat and dairy products are direct marketed off the farm, at the local farmers market, or to groceries, restaurants, and delis.

Since our farm was founded in 2001, our mission has been to be a sustainable farm. There were only three other farmers in our county who actively practiced sustainable farming, but we knew that if we wanted to operate a small farm, the only practical, economic choice was to practice sustainable methods right from the start. The first year, we began transitioning all of the crop and pastureland for organic certification, and started some broilers on pasture. Each year since then we have continued to diversify and further the sustainability of our farm, including: filter strips, erosion control and terraces, pasturing all of our livestock, implementing clean water practices, composting all bedding and offal, no chemical fertilizers or herbicides on the pastures, fields or gardens, no growth hormones or antibiotics for livestock, only natural vitamins and homeopathic treatments

GOALS
• More effective use of pasture acreage by implementing Multi-Species Pasture Stacking (msPS).
• msPS system would require less labor (improved social health of farmer) as well as better soil, water, and animal health.

PROJECT PROCESS
Versatile Water System: Before our grant project with SARE, all the sheep and cattle drank from our ponds, and the poultry drank pond water that we pumped into 500-gallon storage tanks that gravity-flowed to low-presser drinkers. This was problematic for the poultry as the high algae and bacteria pond water would plug and restrict water lines, slow egg production and growth in the summer, and the storage tanks were not a steady water supply. The pond method posed some hazards for the ruminants also. They would get stuck in the mud in the summer and try to walk on the ice in the winter; in addition, they broke down our pond banks. A more environmentally friendly, clean and steady water supply was needed.

With SARE’s support, in 2006 we installed 1,500 feet of below ground water line and installed frost-free hydrants in our pasture at 3 locations. This provided us with a steady supply of water for the winters. In the summer, the rural water is hooked to above ground water lines that provide a pressurized water valve every 300 feet.

After testing four styles of watering pans, (cup, bell, open pan, gravity flow, high pressure) we soon found the most versatile watering system would be to use open pan waters for all species of livestock. Turkeys, sheep, and beef use a 5-gallon black rubber tub with a float. This works easily and cheaply, as a short length of garden hose connects the main line and the water tub. Because of their smaller size (and lower IQ) a shallower tub (2 gal) is used for the hens and broilers. Longer lengths of garden hoses are needed for these as the water pan needs to be right outside their shelter.

Multi-Species Fencing
Before our project with SARE, each species of animal had to be kept in entire separate pastures. This required lots of acreage and much unused pasture grass that had to be hayed.

Each species of animals has different fencing needs to keep them in their proper paddock. Multi species fencing for our operation began with permanent, 5-strand barbwire fencing around the pasture perimeter. The interior of the pasture was then divided into large paddocks with two strands of high tensile hot wire. From this base, we then moved the various livestock through the paddocks by using temporary fencing to move them through the paddocks a little bit at a time. The temporary fence for each species was different as each species has different needs.

Beef temporary fencing: One or two strands of electrified poly-wire kept the cattle in proper rotation most of the time. It worked best if we did not have them immediately ahead of the poultry. Otherwise, the cattle could see/smell the chicken’s grain and would try to get to it. A clumsy cow can shred poultry netting quickly. A week’s worth a grass separating the two species helped with that problem.

Sheep temporary fencing: Sheep have the same problem as cattle when it comes to chicken feed. They don’t shred the poultry netting, they just become impossibly entangled in it. Two strands of poly-wire easily contained adult sheep, with the exception of an occasional bad apple. Lambs however did not follow their parent’s lead.

Experiments with using poultry electrified netting to help contain the lambs, were not successful. Electric netting for sheep was purchased, with much better success. There is a reason for separate netting styles. One challenge of using sheep in a msPS system was the lambs. We prefer to enclose them in a shelter at night to discourage predators. This limited the distance we could rotationally graze them, as they had to return to their barn each evening. Kevin fashioned a PVC hoop house with sturdy, 2 foot sidewalls. This shelter is still easily movable, and the sheep can be enclosed at night. This allows us to graze the sheep everywhere the cattle and chickens can. We have used single and multi-stand poly-wire fences for the sheep, and the multi-strand was definitely a more effective with the various temperaments of sheep. However, the electric netting performed far superior to the multi-strand poly-wire fencing when used in a temporary-fence setting. The E-net from Premier One is more expensive than the poly-wire but is a lot faster and easier to move. Time-savings is what counts when you are moving fence twice a week.

Poultry temporary fencing: this was the most challenging category as it had to meet both goals of being easily moved and labor-saving, while not losing any of its protective values for the poultry. In addition, each poultry species requires different modes of shelter. We used 5 different shelter/fencing prototypes during the two growing seasons. Growing season 2006 revealed the best systems for the turkey and layers shelter and fencing needs. Slight adjustments were made in 2007 revealing…
Layer shelter/fencing- Tarp covered A-frame supports nesting boxes from center beam, with roosts added in the lower corners of frame that are out of the human’s walking space. Shelter is surrounded by electrified 42” poultry netting (approximately ¼ acres enclosed space). Volume bins containing feed, and open-pan style waters. Move entire set-up weekly.

Turkey shelter/fencing- The best fit for the turkey’s free-roaming lifestyle was a simple hay wagon for shade. Our turkeys did not want to sleep under a roof. Sleeping on the top of the wagon satisfied the turkey’s roosting instincts. Turkeys need no rain protection in the average fall shower. In times of extended, multi-day rains, tin or tarps are used to cover the wagon bed. Initially, we put poultry netting around the haywagon shelter. A turkey’s appetite for grass and grit is much greater than a chicken’s, thus the netting enclosure for turkeys needed to be moved more often than the chicken’s. This was more time-consuming, so we decided to eliminate the fence. The turkeys returned each night to their wagon roost, and no predator problems were experienced. Our turkeys come in two batches a month apart, so that separation in the field was not necessary because they were all dressed at the same time.

Broiler shelter/fencing- this was more complicated, as these poultry are less self-sufficient. We went through several prototypes that were close, but still lacking in one of the needed criteria: ease of mobility, adequate ventilation for summer, adequate shelter for storms and cold snaps, wind resistant… We began to wonder if there was a shelter that was Kansas-proof enough to shelter dumb broilers.

The current favorite is designed to shelter 350 birds: 12’x 14’ Beechard hoophouse, constructed of PVC hoops and 12 oz tarp. These are light enough that one person can move it, the taller hoops prevent the wind from tossing it, the PVC bows are easily repairable if damaged, it’s very ventilated for summer heat, but not as great for early spring/late fall weather.

Electrified netting is set up to supply a week’s worth of grass; the shelter is moved daily within the enclosure.

PEOPLE:
The following individuals and their agencies assisted with our project through consulting and planning of the various facets of this project.

Herschel George K-State watershed specialist
1418 S Main Suite 2, Ottawa, KS 66067; 785-229-3520

Don Carlson, PE KS Dept Health and Environment, Bureau of Water
1000 SW Jackson St, Topeka, KS 66612; 785-296-5509

Karen Pendleton Explorations in Value-Added Enterprises
1446 E 1850 Rd, Lawrence, KS 66046; 785-843-1409

Mercedes T. Puckett Kansas Rural Center, Farmers Market Coordinator
PO box 133, Whiting, KS 66552; 785-873-3431

Susan Wettstein Garnett Tourism Advisory Board
131 W 5th Ave, Garnett,KS 66032; 785-448-5496

Sara Larison KS Dept of Commerce, Agritourism, Value-added, local foods
1000 SW Jackson St, Topeka, KS 66612; 785-296-3737

Dr. Liz Boyle K-State HACCP educator, Meat Processing Authority
249 Weber Hall, Manhattan, KS 66506; 785-532-1247

RESULTS:
Multi-Species Fencing
It definitely takes more management, but it is entirely feasible for multiple species of animals to graze in the same pastures. The extra management is offset by the benefits of fewer acres and pesticides used. Both of these are very costly items.

A mobile lifestyle is an adjustment for any species of poultry, because of their roosting instinct. Providing a roost for the poultry to sleep on can combat this, as they will gladly follow the shelter to sleep on their familiar roost. Broilers are too fat to fly, but a floor in the broiler hoop houses would probably provide them with a roost delusion and help draw the birds back under shelter. The poultry shelters we have settled on are what worked best for our operation and region. For regions with more predictable and less violent weather than Kansas, shelters could be much simpler. We recommend that broiler producers with less than 800 birds on the field use a Salatin model of pen. These provide excellent predator protection, and are easy to move.

Versatile Water System
We are extremely pleased with the versatile water system. It has resulted in better animal health and labor reduction. The frost free hydrants in the pasture enable us to keep our livestock on grass in the winter months instead of using a feed-lot or barn. The pressurized water system has increased our animals’ health, growth rates and quality of life.

A more sustainable (and economic) option for the livestock waters would be to use our own water from our own land. We plan to purchase a pump and filter to bring water from the ponds now that they are fenced off. We could then treat the water with hydrogen peroxide, which is better for our animals than the water district’s chemical treatment, plus it would still provide intestinal pathogen control and algae reduction.

We recently discovered that it was a bad idea to place the water lines directly below our electric fence wires, because of ground currents. A solution may be to cover the water lines with a several inches of dirt to act as an insulator without needing to go to the expense of trenching.

The biggest advantage for the cattle’s access to the ponds is that they could cool themselves in them during the hot, humid Kansas summers. We would like to find some way for the cattle to cool themselves since the pond is not an ecological option.

Faster Growth
First year trials revealed a 50% increase in broiler weights with the addition of a pure, steady water supply.

Second year trials revealed a 50% increase in turkey carcass weights when the turkeys were allowed no-boundaries grazing. If there are multiple groups of turkeys that must be kept separate, we suggest keeping the younger batch surrounded by electrified netting.
These two instances reveal that both the fencing and the watering systems are equally important to animal health and growth.

Animal Health
Neither the KDA meat inspectors nor we found any evidence of parasites in any of the poultry throughout this project. We have not needed to administer any antibiotics or vaccines of any sort to our beef herd. Nearly all of the cattle at CVF are from our own stock, so any health problems resulting from our pastures/methods would have had time to be revealed.

Having our own state-inspected processing has provided us with a unique opportunity to measure the bacterial health of our chickens that most producers do not have. We have performed approximately 20 e-coli tests and 13 salmonella tests on our broilers since October 2007. The results from these have mostly been within the accepted criteria. Other long-time poultry processors have told us that traditionally, pastured poultry have higher e-coli counts because of their non-medicated feed. This is an issue that many pastured poultry producers are not aware of, nor would they have the resources to measure their own bacterial counts.

Our on-farm processing facility greatly benefits the poultry’s mental health and meat quality as it eliminates the one-hour transport to the processor. In fact, our turkeys actually walk on their own accord up to the slaughter door on processing day, drawn by their own curiosity. This makes the lowest-stress transport to slaughter ever achieved by any turkey producer!

Soil and Water Health
Unfortunately, we were unable to conduct any official tests on our water and soil quality. We wish there could have been more measurable environmental results for this project, but the soil and water benefits are so obvious on this project, it would have been a little redundant to do a scientific analysis. The grass in our pasture is the first in the area to green up in the spring and the last to die off in the fall. When properly implemented. msPS yields a thicker stand of grasses, which prevents weeds and the use of herbicides.

Our winter feeding grounds for the livestock is strategically located to help prevent run-off. The ponds have been fenced off, and a lagoon built to prevent wash-down water from our barns from entering into the water supply.

Labor Reduction
By consolidating our broilers and turkeys into larger, more open housing and improved watering systems, our chore time is reduced by 2/3rds. By “disaster-proofing” the broiler shelters, we are preventing the need for midnight rescues, which account for about 25 hours each year; multiplied by four persons is 100 hours saved. The beef and sheep remain about the same labor-wise.

We have been able to undertake more cropland, even beginning some custom haying. We were able to build and operate our own processing facility on farm, which requires about 15 extra hours of management time each week.

DISCUSSION
Is Multi-Species Pasture Stacking a viable option for real, small farms?
Should you have separate pastures for each species of livestock, or should you orchestrate a revolving grazing system?
Like Management Intensive Grazing, msPS does take time to implement, and a little more management. However, the benefits of msPS are far-reaching and practical: Less Labor, Better Livestock Health, Faster Growth, and Environmentally Kind. If one is serious about raising animals on pasture for their livelihood, we think msPS is a natural, most effective course to take especially when you have small acreage.

Isn’t the water system expensive?
We like to do things on the cheap at our farm, just like most farmers who are raised on the “making do; doing without” adage. However, in the case of the water system for our livestock “making do” with the cheap waters was causing us to “do without” economically. Sure, this system will save you time, but most farmers don’t mind doing things the hard way, and we were no exception. (Otherwise, why would we be farming?) But as our operation grew, we were having a hard time being able to supply all of our livestock with constant, clean water. This was hurting our herd’s health and growth rates. For our operation, what really made the Versatile Water system viable was time-savings and reduced death loss. We were losing cattle, sheep and poultry through the standard watering systems, and to continue doing it as we grew was taking ridiculous hunks of time. A Versatile Water system was not an option, it was a must. Because a good portion of the pressurized waterlines is above ground, little permanent water infrastructure is invested, save for the underground lines to the frost-free hydrants. This is beneficial if you are renting your pastureland.

How long do the animals stay in each paddock?
We do not feel ready to make a recommendation on time periods that the various livestock should stay in each paddock, or how long each paddock needs to rest. There are too many variables to give a rule of thumb: region, herd size, and weather. We do not even have any particular average for our farm; we let the grass be our guide. The most common mistake with msPS is not allowing the paddocks sufficient rest and re-growth time. Irrigating the pasture does take care of a lot of the variables, and we recommend some type of supplemental watering of the pasture to help break down the manure when practical.

PROJECT IMPACTS
Social Impacts: This project has without doubt accomplished the goal of giving the Bauman children a positive experience and valuable training in sustainable agriculture. All of the children have made solid steps toward a future that sustainable agriculture plays a major part. Best of all, they understand that farming sustainably does not mean just one or two methods of farming. Part of the persona of sustainable farming is diversification. The Bauman children’s sustainable farming methods are highly diversified.

The oldest four children have furthered their knowledge of organic and sustainable agriculture by attending the MOSES Organic Farming Conference at their own expense. Each year they have been invited back as assistants, and are now under contract as assistants.

The Bauman children were featured in the book Renewing the Countryside: YOUTH edition, largely because of our participation in this SARE grant project.

(Ages as of 2007, the end of SARE grant project.)

Marvin (21) Since 2005 Marvin has taken over much of the row-crop management, including the paperwork for organic certification. He continues to rent ground on his own, and keep it under organic certification. He has encouraged his younger brothers to follow the organic farming methods, and invests his money in equipment for a small farm. Marvin has advocated it as being “the smartest way for a young farmer to start, if he wants to make farming his occupation” to other young farmers in the area. “It just makes sense,” Marvin says, despite growing up in a Big Ag county. Marvin married a California girl in 2007. We have taught her all she knows about farming, and she is beginning to grow into a true farm wife who will encourage the third generation of Baumans to care for the land in a sustainable way.

Rosanna (19) continues to be active in the sustainable education, both to farmers and consumers. She has become the HACCP and employee manager for ANCO Processing, placing much emphasis on sustainable processing- a new concept the state inspection program has had to learn. She helped pilot the first tourism advisory board in the county, and brought the rural entrepreneurs together in a groundbreaking tour targeted at educating their own hometown citizens about the rural treasures that lay in these backyard agriculture businesses. This was an explosive success and the locals demanded more. This has resulted in several other group tours of other county sights and more of the rural businesses. The Garnett Farmers Market was revived under her guidance in 2008 and continues to exemplify itself as the most unusual small market in Kansas.

Kevin (15) still maintains his herd of grass-fed sheep in addition to several feeder calves and a beginning herd of goats. His 100% grassfed lamb production has not yet met the demand. Kevin has also entered into a joint custom haying venture with Marvin. Kevin also purchased his first tractor (JD 4020) in 2007, and is beginning to raise organic strawberries in a greenhouse.

Steven (13) pursued a market heretofore unavailable for farmers in our region with the advent of our on-farm processing; Steven has yet to meet demand for his pasture-raised duck meat and eggs. This is a new market that has already seen many more farmers joining.

Ivin (10) is taking more responsibility in the farm chores, and has begun to manage the pastured egg production and hen’s health. His interest and understanding of farming and direct marketing has increased. Ivin plans to begin a grass-fed dairy herd in 2009 to sell raw milk.

Joanna (7) plans an illustrious career in direct marketing poultry and educating other youth about farming. Currently, she assists Ivin in his egg management and helps in the processing shed.

Social impact on community: This project did have the expected impact on people beyond our immediate family. Pre-SARE project, CVF had no hired help. Now we have help hired both for weekly and seasonal tasks at our farm. Before 2006, the local farmers and direct-marketers didn’t do any cluster marketing. However, this has been drastically changed as a result of the Bauman family’s advocating of clustering. Sixteen of the farms/rural businesses in a 15-mile radius from CVF now cluster market their products through the farmers market, and they are beginning to collaborate to sell on a wholesale level. They have also discovered the benefits of being an agritourism destination cluster through the positive experience that the bus tours organized by the Baumans provided. This agritourism cluster is now hosting bus tours from bus tour companies. We did not host many farm tours in 2007-2008 because we are re-structuring the method of conducting tours in favor of a style that will work more effectively with our current farm operation.

Economic Impacts:
Economic Changes at Bauman’s Cedar Valley Farms 2005-2007
Our local groceries and restaurants are asking for 50% more products and we realistically expect our retail sales to improve by about 25%.

Wholesale Meat sales increase 40% from 2007 to 2008, while our prices from 2006 have increased 40%.

Can the Bauman’s keep up with this demand? By gaining more control of each aspect of the meat’s journey to the consumer, Cedar Valley Farms will be able to move beyond success and become profitable as a family farm that is economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable.

Acreage under organic transition/certification by CVF from 2005-2007 saw a 65% increase in land owned and rented.

Trickle-down economic impact from laborsaving msPS has allowed us to operate an inspected processing facility, which employs 3-6 locals once or twice a week for 36 weeks. This is excluding any of the Bauman family. Employees range from 47- 8 years of age. This results in over $5,000 of wages to locals each year that was formerly not even a job in our county.

Environmental Impacts:
At Cedar Valley Farms, the Baumans take a simplified view of environmental stewardship. We do not use many scientific methods to measure environmental quality, because it has never been a science to us. We still hold the original view of ecological practices that we held when CVF was founded: “Environmental land stewardship is not complicated; it’s simply the way we farm, because it’s sensible.”

Because of the lagoon construction (we built, we did not hire it done), we were unable to conduct a water-quality test of the runoff. We do have the confidence, however that the water quality has improved and will continue to improve. The lagoon was constructed to ensure that wash-down water does not leave our property and enter the water supply. The lagoon now has a healthy stand of grasses covering its dam.

Erosion: When we purchased the farm there were multiple washes 12 foot wide and 3 feet deep. With dirt work and reseeding then implementing msPS they have been healed. Even grazing and manure distribution creates a consistent grass stand, helping to eliminate bare spots that cause erosion. We received 27” of rain in 68 hours in June 2007. This caused massive flooding and the destruction of a lake spillway ½ mile from our farm. None of the pasture at Cedar Valley Farms suffered erosion, not even the spillways from our three ponds. We credit this to our established pasture grasses.

Pasture health: The biggest threat to pasture health as a result of practicing msPS was one of the styles of poultry shelter we used. We found the heavier, more enclosed A-frame shelter was detrimental to pasture health when used for broilers. (Hens did not have this problem.) The broilers would not range outside of their shelter as much, creating heavy manure concentration. This not only created the need for a longer pasture rest, but also uneven manure distribution. The heavy pen was moved by truck or tractor (that would tear the sod) and in rainy weather could not be moved at all. This resulted in extended stays in one pasture location, which would burn and kill the grass.

Otherwise, the pasture health has improved with the implementation of the msPS system. Before this project, we did not have a way of evenly grazing the grasses or distributing manure. By having paddocks, movable shelters, and water available in all areas of the pasture makes for more even grazing and manure distribution.

It is good stewardship to be able to do more with less. The msPS method teaches us a conservative approach to land-use. There is no more land being created, so it is conducive that we begin to use our land to its fullest potential. Conventional farming is extravagant and wasteful in its use of acreage.

OUTREACH
The Kansas City Food Circle featured our farm as the first in their “meet the Farmer newsletter” that went out to 180 consumers and farmers. The focus of the article was the msPS system and its environmental advantages.

In August 2007, Explorations in Value-added Enterprises hosted a bus tour of approx. 40 other direct marketers and farmers who toured CVF. The SARE grant and msPS was explained. Rosanna rode the bus for most of the day to facilitate Q&A between tour stops.

November 3, 2007 John and Rosanna presented their SARE project and results at the National Small Farm Trade Show & Conference’s Farmers Forum in Columbia, MO. This 45-minute session was well attended.

November 9, 2007 100 local citizens of all age groups boarded two buses and toured various rural farms and businesses, including Cedar Valley Farms. This new tour was spearheaded by Rosanna and the County Tourism Advisory for the purpose of educating local citizen of the treasures existing in the farms and rural businesses in their own backyard. This groundbreaking tour had the local citizens clamoring for more, and has paved the way for a variety of other hometown tourism opportunities. Tour participants were educated on the purpose, progress and results of the SARE project at CVF.

December 1, 2007 we spoke at local food conference (attended by 205 direct-marketing farmers) about our project and SARE grants. Handouts included SARE grant contact info.

The certification of our on-farm processing facility in October 2007 opened up a whole new education outlet. Being the processor gives us a unique opportunity to demonstrate the advantages of natural poultry production. As a processor, we can tell if the chicken had proper nutrition, sufficient protection from elements and predators, and the presence of any disease or mineral deficiencies. We then show the producer how this lack results in a particular problem or blemish on the carcass. We then are able to make recommendations that would correct the problem in a holistic way. Producers do implement our advice, and further poultry from these farmers have shown distinct improvements in quality.

The Garnett Farmers Market revived in Garnett in July 2008 after a 7-year hiatus. We were excited about this new venue to market our products locally and became a charter vendor. The 2008 season was highly successful due to the special events that highlighted local produce and animals. CVF brought many of their animals to market for interactive education on their growing methods.

One- fourth the way through our first year as Farmer Educator, Rosanna had already logged more than half of the hours they estimated the Farmer Educators would use in a year.

Further Outreach:
To Farmers-
ANCO Poultry Processing remains one of the best outreach methods to reach other poultry raisers who may not have been exposed or previously interested in sustainable poultry production. While they are waiting for their birds to be processed, our msPS system is easily observed from the facility location. We use our position as a processor to illustrate the benefits of natural poultry raising. We have been able to “read” poultry carcasses and advise producers on natural ways to improve their birds’ health. The results of our pastured-poultry bacterial studies provide us with data to improve a part of poultry health that is otherwise unseen and undetected. We want to educate other producers about this little-known schism in pastured-poultry health, and teach them how to reduce these pathogens in their live poultry.

Feed and chick purchasers: As a purveyor of natural feed supplements for ruminants and poultry as well as discount poultry chicks to both backyard and producer farmers, we connect with a wide variety of farmers. Our role as a supplier positions us as an expert to many of our customers, who ask us about their nutritional and physical needs.

Field Day: Previous efforts to stage a gathering of regional pastured meat producers were challenged by our lack of experience in field day organization. Our new position as a Farmer Educator for the Kansas Rural Center provides us with a stable platform and proper connections to host an educational field day. A field day is scheduled for July 17, 2009. This free event will be a detailed look at the many facets of msPS, with recognized experts presenting on the benefits and proper techniques to implement msPS.

To Consumers-
Farm Location
Our farm is located right before the boat docks/camping area of our county’s most popular lake. Our pasture with its many species of animals is fully visible to all traffic going to the lake, as well as our farm sign detailing the meat products. It is not uncommon to have curious drivers stop and ask what we are doing. Many of them will buy a sampling of our products. Whenever we give directions to someone, or tell them where we are located, it is not uncommon to hear “Oh, you’re the ones with all the chickens in the field!” Our farm exposes a lot of the public involuntarily to sustainable agriculture who may have never been introduced to sustainable farming methods before.

Farmers Market
The local market will continue to be the basis for our outreach to the small-town consumers and retired farmers. Rural American consumers are the least educated about the benefits of foods raised in a natural/organic manner. We hope to help bridge this information gap by attending our local market and educating through product tasting and animal demonstrations. It is important to us that our neighbors understand what sustainable growing methods we are practicing and how it benefits them.

Wholesale Marketing
Large amounts of urban consumers will learn about Cedar Valley Farm’s sustainable methods of raising meat through our POP pictures, signs and brochures in retail outlets and restaurants in Lawrence and Topeka, KS. More farm visits are scheduled for the chefs, managers, and cashiers to see first-hand how we produce our meats utilizing msPS and other sustainable growing practices. As a result of these tours we have farm advocates available in all our retail outlets that are able to educate consumers about our special growing methods.

Research

Participation Summary
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.