Doing what it takes to launch a grass dairy

Beichlers flexible with funding and market niche

By Martha Hoffman

Middlebrook, Virginia — Dairy experience was the main capital Ben and Kristen Beichler used when they started their grass dairy in 2017. An investor group covered the cash.

Since then, there have been plenty of surprises and curveballs, but with some creative solutions they’ve been able to employ, the Beichlers are happy with the direction they’re headed in feeding no grain, milking once a day, and selling raw milk herdshares.

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Greg Stricker’s once a day story

By Martha Hoffman
Greg Stricker had been eyeing OAD milking for six years, running the numbers to see what net profit would look like with the expected 30% drop in milk production.

Greg and his family, which includes his father, Forrest, milk 120 mostly Jersey cows year-round in southeastern Pennsylvania. Greg keeps a sharp eye on the farm’s finances. The Strickers do not feed any grain, shipping to Natural by Nature’s organic grassfed program. So while the milk price is higher than with conventional organic, the herd’s production levels are lower.

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Controlling flies organically

A lot of little things are needed to do the job

By Hue Karreman
Flies happen. And controlling them on organic farms is an ongoing challenge. There are lots of spray products that help, but none seem to work as well as farmers would like.

Flies are parasites, and thus make the most of any situation. Almost all common parasites, external and internal, thrive in warm and moist conditions, so we need to keep those two factors front and center when thinking about fly control.

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The savior may be fake, but the money is real

By Joel McNair

The headline above Timothy Egan’s column in the June 21 edition of The New York Times assured that “Fake Meat Will Save Us”. I was very relieved, as it seems that we do need saving, and the idea of a fake savior is appropriate for the age, I guess.

Seriously, this was just another example of a well-known intellectual — Egan is an award-winning environmental and political writer — falling into the trap of employing trendy, but bad, information and faulty logic in reaching a popular “big picture” technological solution that makes absolutely no sense. Continue reading “The savior may be fake, but the money is real”

Rebuilding soils and community

Suzanne and Hue with cows

Reverence Farms taking ‘local’ to another level

By Joel McNair

Saxapahaw, North Carolina — Quite frankly, what is taking place here at Reverence Farms is almost too much to describe.

There’s the 45-cow dairy herd with its rapidly growing raw milk sales program, plus the possibility of a further-processing venture at some point in the future. There’s the Jersey linebreeding program and bull/semen sales based on genetics that do well on no-grain rations and mediocre forages, along with a variety of milk qualities ranging from ultra-high solids to A2A2 genetics.

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