At the forefront of our practices is finding ways to cut down, give back, and make our little piece of the world better for the next generation. How are we working toward sustainability on the farm?
Our venture into renewable energy predates the farm’s inception. With 3 wind turbines, 3 free-standing solar panels, and 32 panels on the roofs of our outbuildings, we’re proud that the farm has been completely dependent on solar and wind since fall 2016. Based on our farm’s average energy usage, for each month we’re powered by renewables we offset over 1 ton of carbon dioxide emissions.
Admittedly, we are only at the beginning of regenerating our land and still have a lot to learn–but this is the pillar of sustainability to us. Proper land use and well-managed rotational animal grazing are powerful ways to build soil health, plant and insect diversity, protect the water table, and sequester carbon–arguably a few of the most pressing environmental issues we face.
Livestock factory farms are now recognized as a leading cause of antibiotic resistance. While we will never withhold treatment for our animals in the face of serious illness, we seek to avoid that as often as possible through complete mineral programs which give our animals the necessary building blocks for a healthy immune system. Our lambs and chicks–who we have found to be the most susceptible to illness–receive a blend of garlic, oregano, and other immune powerhouses daily in place of sub-therapeutic antibiotics.
Whenever possible we use the 100-mile rule. You can find our grain sources, animal processors, credit union, chick hatchery, stores, restaurants, and farmers markets well within that boundary, and we hope to keep it that way. In 2016, over 99% of our outgoing money was to people or businesses in mid-Michigan–most within 30 miles of us. This is not only to avoid unnecessary carbon emissions, but because it is our greatest tool to strengthen our local and statewide economies (not to mention operating locally is more convenient!).