The exploiters goal is money, profit. The nurturers goal is health. His lands health, his own, his family’s, his community’s, his country’s. -Wendell Berry [The Unsettling of America]
Produce nutritious food while improving the land and create a welcoming environment for clients and the community to foster conversation about the way food is produced.
We currently raise grass-fed beef and pastured poultry with plans to explore more enterprises. With daily movement to fresh pasture for our beef and chickens our goal is to produce healthy, delicious food by starting with the regeneration of healthy soils. We also feed our family first, so you’ll never get a product from us that we wouldn’t give to our own children.
Our goal here at Nurtured Lands Farm is first and foremost to improve the soil using intensive rotational grazing and the introduction of beneficial forages. We know that only by naturally building soil health can we provide our animals with healthy forages which in turn provides us with healthy food.
We believe diversity builds resilience, whether it’s diversity within the soil microbiome, forages growing in our pastures, animals moving across the pastures or the different ways of thinking that my wife and I have. A monoculture in any situation is one bad break away from total disaster. This is why we have never used broad applications of herbicides or pesticides but have sought to add key pieces to our pastures that were missing such as legumes, which not only benefit the animals eating it but also the other plants and soil.
Through my work in the veterinary field I gained an appreciation for humane, low-stress handling of all animals, especially livestock. On the farm, we examine and move our animals daily as opposed to larger, more conventional farms where animals may not see a human for days or weeks. This means our animals recognize us and are happy to see us knowing they will get access to new fresh forage.
We are a family unit; we all work together and help out. Even our two-year-old is involved and goes with us to check our animals every day.
HOW WE GOT HERE… I grew up 45 minutes away from Princeton in Paducah, KY. I did not grow up on a farm or have any farming experience short of watching my uncle with horses, a few cows and some hogs when I was young. Despite this, I always dreamt of living on a farm and raising animals, but even I thought it was just a dream, I mean how many people become a farmer when they’ve never done any farming?
So, after high school I went to Murray State University for my undergrad. I received a Bachelor of Agriculture in Animal Health Technology in 2005 and took the national exam to become a licensed veterinary technologist. The summer before my senior year I applied for two internships, one was at the St. Louis zoo, working with zoo veterinarians and living in the city and the other was working on a farm in Tennessee, living in a an old farmhouse with no running water, heating or cooling and working from before sun up to sun down. I chose the farm without hesitation. That summer I milked cows and goats, worked beef and sheep, collected eggs, baled hay and built fences. Lots of fences. But I loved it and it confirmed for me everything I felt since I was little, that someday I wanted to live on a farm.
After undergrad I worked for the USDA in southeast Iowa. While living in Iowa my ideas about food and the food production systems began to change. Seeing firsthand the pork industry opened my eyes to how unnaturally these animals are being raised. I began thinking more about my everyday access of healthy, unprocessed food. This started me searching out food that was grown differently. The more I looked, I began to see that this was a growing interest for a lot of people and the market for real food has grown in the decade since.
In 2012 I met my future wife. Even though she didn’t have a farming background either, she did have a love of the outdoors and hard work, so we agreed some day we would live on a farm. While teaching veterinary technology at a small college in Cincinnati, I attended Colorado State University (online) and received a Master of Agriculture in Integrated Resource Management.
We were living in the city and pregnant with our first child, and a faraway dream of having a farm, when we had an epiphany: WHY WAIT? It hasn’t been easy, and we’ve made mistakes, but it has felt right. Now we live on a 50-acre farm, with cows, chickens, 3 kids with wild imaginations, and nightly farm walk adventures.
Since starting the farm we have learned a lot from countless sources and people but we would not be where we are today without Toby and Debbie Dulworth of Dogwood Farm in La Center, KY. They have taken us under their wing and helped us get started from scratch, helping us begin our herd with their purebred Hereford cows that have been selected over 30 years for the best characteristics for pasture raised beef.