Posts

This Young Family Has Figured Out the Ultimate Food for the Soul

Ben and Stephanie describe themselves as just a couple of regular people who want to make a positive difference for their community and the environment. But believe me, they are far from ordinary!
Having both grown up on family farms, and now with a family of their own (their two boys are 2 years old and 10 weeks old!), their dream is to build up their grass finished beef business, Grazed Right, to the point where Ben can leave his day job as a construction engineer. Ben and Steph are building much more than an agrricultural business that sells healthy, sustainable, local food to consumers. They are building a business, and building their family, upon a set of core values that will truly resonate with anyone in the business of farming. And when you hear what those values are, I think you’ll agree that if anyone can make it in agriculture – and quit their day job – it’s Ben, Steph and their amazing family.

 

When we were visiting with Ben and Steph as they played with Henry on the living room floor, the topic of “risk” and “security” came up, and the question of “will the benefits outweigh the risks?”.

ben_3_498x280

Ben’s response was one that I’ve never heard before from a farmer, and it’s one that I think more of us should really adopt!

“When you don’t have a lot, then if it all fails we’ll just be back where we were a couple of years ago. We’ve been behind everyone all our lives you know, we could have finished university when we were 22 and had a job engineering in the city downtown and made lots of cash. And instead you know, we went to Africa and we spent more time in school, and I took a year off and did falconry, and we did all sorts of stuff so we’re way behind anyways. We’re running a different race now.”

ben_2_500x280

ben_1_500x280

 

 

 

 

 

Grazing Stories

Iain Aitken’s Story 

Iain Aitken grew up on an 8th generation cattle ranch in Scotland.  When he picked up everything and moved to Canada he was determined to learn everything he could about rotational grazing from some of the best producers in the area, and how to transfer his existing skills and knowledge from Scotland to the vastly different climate in central Alberta.

 

Don Ruzicka’s Story 

Don shares his story about transitioning from a conventional commodity operation to a grass based system, using intensive grazing management and holistic management principles.

 

Kristie and Brent Vallet’s Story

Kristie and Brent never planned to be goat farmers, but once their children reached the age where they wanted to become more involved in the operation they did some market research and found that their land and their family were a perfect fit for a grazing operation.  They started out small, and have learned a lot along the way.

 

The Fast Farmer – Grazing Edition

The Fast Farmer is all about giving you the hands on steps necessary to get started and experience some quick wins in your business.  If you’re interested in tapping into the profit that rotational grazing can add to your operation, check out The Fast Farmer – Grazing Edition.

 

rsz_fast_farmer_screenshot_300x169


Other Stories

Blain Hjertaas farms near Redvers, Saskatchewan, and wrote this article for the Western Producer:  Healthy Soil Makes For Healthy Humans.

Holistic Management International has written some helpful book reviews for anyone interested in grazing management – check them out here.

 

Life Gave This Family Small Pumpkins, But Look What They Made!

Shayne and Vicky Horn are friends of ours, and they have a pretty incredible story.  Their farm, Tangle Ridge Ranch, is a small mixed farm located near Thorsby, Alberta.  They raise pastured lamb and beef and sell directly to consumers and restaurants in Edmonton, Calgary and other communities in Alberta.

We went to visit Tangle Ridge Ranch recently, and after Shayne gave us a tour of the yard and pasture – along with his trusty (and giant) guardian dog, Mojito – we went inside to catch up with Vicky, who had just finished getting lunch ready for the kids.  We sat down to interview Vicky and Shayne in their gorgeous home and I quickly realized this was an interview that I wouldn’t soon forget.  It’s not every day that you hear what it’s like for a young couple to start a farm from scratch, when neither of them even grew up on a farm!  They shared their biggest struggles and frustrations, as well as some valuable insights for other people who might just be starting out in agriculture or thinking of pursuing their dreams of having a farm.  And at 3:15 into the video, Vicky shares a story that will melt you, of what their 5 year old daughter Shelby decided to do with her failed crop of tiny pumpkins.

And Shayne’s biggest piece of advice to other young farmers?

“I think the biggest thing is to talk to people.  Find people that are doing something similar to what you want to do, because I gaurantee you 100% that they’ve been at that same place before.  And so whether it be an older couple that’s doing it or a younger couple that’s been doing it for a while, you know, I would find someone to talk to.  That’s what we did.”

vicky_2

vicky_3