Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year!!

We here at Fair View Meadow Farm hope that all of you had a wonderful and blessed Christmas. Ours was fun, as usual. This is always a joyous time to celebrate our Christ's birth. It is also nice to see friends and family, some of which we don't get to see many other times during the year. We also hope that all of you have a blessed and prosperous New Year, despite our economic situation. We are looking forward to the new year and serving you for yet another season. Thank you all so much for your continued support. You make all of our efforts worth it. God bless you all and have a happy New Year!!

The Joppeck Family

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Beyond Organic

I'm sure some of you are wondering how we can claim to be "beyond organic." Well, the problem with the term organic is that it doesn't give much information about the product, especially meat products. Just because it is organic doesn't mean that it is grass-fed. Grass-fed and pastured production models aren't the norm in the organic industry. Unfortunately, they use a variety of confinement methods as well. This is a picture of an organic egg farm in California.

What we mean by "beyond organic" is that our production methods are held to higher standards than the organic industry. Because all of our animals are pastured, the products are much more nutritious and tasty than those raised in confinement. The animals also have a better life. For example, our free-range hens actually have free-range to eat grass and bugs like chickens should, instead of merely getting a dirt yard. Because of this, the quality of our eggs and meat is far superior to anything else. Quality hinges more on the production methods than on the feed.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Responsible Farming

Responsibility is one of our key values. This quality has seemingly disappeared in agriculture today. The call for cheap food has led to corporate agriculture that seeks only profits. People, animals, the environment, and communities have all suffered because of these establishments. The entire goal is to push as many animals through the system as fast as they can. Scenes like the one above now typify agriculture. All of this is done without regard to animal welfare, the effect on the environment, the health of consumers, or respect for the farmers themselves.

We are called by God to be good stewards of that under our control. Here at our farm, we know that responsibility is the key to this. We are held responsible by God, our customers, and our consciences. Our production models are designed to provide animal health and comfort, a vibrant ecology, and clean, safe products for our customers. When thousands upon thousands of food products are recalled every year because of contamination, common sense says that something is wrong with the current paradigm. Who really benefits the most when animals suffer or the local ecology is upset by manure spills and chemical sprays or local taxpayers have to foot the bill clean up contamination? I would wager that it isn't the consumer. This is why voting for responsibility with your food dollars is so important.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Grass Is King

Grass-based is the next aspect of our farm we will discuss. Our farm is what is typically defined as a "grass farm" within the industry. That simply means that we farm just that- grass. Grass forms the foundation of our feeding and nutrition programs. All of our animals have access to fresh grass during some or all of their lives. For instance, our cows eat a diet consisting entirely of grass and hay until the day they leave our farm. Our chickens, both meat and egg, are put onto grass once they are old enough to leave the brooder. All farm animals are capable of eating at least some portion of their diet in grass.

All of our animals are moved to fresh grass every day or two. This is absolutely key to maintain the health of the animals, pastures, and, ultimately, the products we produce. Moving the animals often maintains lush and productive pastures, perfect for creating top-notch products. This keeps the animals healthier by moving them away from the parasites they leave behind. Natural sanitation then occurs through sunshine and decomposition, leaving a clean plate, so to speak, for the animals the next time they come by. By taking these simple measures, we are able to produce the cleanest, healthiest, safest, freshest, and best tasting products for our customers.

Posted by Nathan

Battle Won

The battle? Us against Them....with them being-- the cattle.

Not as much happens here on the farm during the winter but this was to be the week that we moved all the cattle up to the house barn. We needed to do this to get everyone separated out for winter as the stock-piled grass that we had was now close to running out, the calves need to be weened and those being butchered needed to be close. We then needed to send half of that herd back out to the pasture barn. This is the biggest herd we've had since we started raising beef, so it was going to be a bit of an adventure.

Today was the chosen day because the forecast called for Tuesday being the nicest day of the week. The barns had been prepared for its new occupants and we were all given a heads up that everyone needed to be free to help. This is not an enjoyable task as cattle can be unpredictable and there is a chance that the herd could have their own agenda for that day and decide that they want to tour the neighborhood while they are out for the trip.

John asked us all if we were ready for 'Cattle Romp 2008". He headed over to the barn while Nathan went out to the pasture to herd everyone up. I arrived to get my instructions. I was told that I had the north line (electric line that is) and was to hold that line and not to let it be breached!! If that did happen, I was to fall back and keep the perimeter fence secured.

The cattle arrived into the selected barn pasture with the hopes they would follow the funnel system that was set up (with me on the north and Chad on the south of it) and all go into the barn as planned. Of course, with their now new scenery, came excitement. We hoped they would stay 'calm' enough to keep making their way forward.....and to quit playing around!!

The older, bigger cows, steers and bull made their way into the barn as planned (they had done this before) but all the little ones (the ones that we really wanted in there for winter) did not like that idea. There were now too many bigger animals in there for them to feel safe to go in plus they had never been into anything like that before in their life. Now what to do? As Chad and I kept an eye on the little ones to make sure they didn't bolt anywhere, John and Nathan discussed Plan B.

Plan B was for Nathan to single out those now trapped in the barn that needed to come back out and we'd hold them in the barn pasture until they were all out. After that, they would drive them back out to the big pasture and then come back to deal with the little ones that had been been contained into a separate area. This separate area would keep them from mingling with those coming back out.

All went well and when everyone was in place, Chad and I were told to guard the calves while they moved the other half back out. A lot of complaining was starting to transpire now as mother and calf were starting to realize that they were in 2 different places. When they finished that and came back, we tried to cokes the calves to go in the barn with those that were still left in there. After some prodding, finally our mission was accomplished and we breathed a sigh of relief! The boys had to go back out to the big pasture to secure that area better as some of the cattle had managed to get out and were making their way back up to us. The barn for the little ones was secured and I was told I was relieved of duty.

This next week we will have to keep a very close eye on things so that no one breaches the area they were put into. It will be a louder than normal week, as well, as both parties (mothers and calves) go through the separation stages as calves are being weened. It is a good thing that it is cold outside and everyones windows are closed.

So all in all "Cattle Romp 2008" went well--thank the Lord!

posted by Louise

Monday, December 15, 2008

Farewell to Pipi

I (Louise) would like to take a brief break for the 'series' that Nathan is going through to share this story of a terrorist chicken (along with the picture that came with it) that I found while looking at blogs a while back to get ideas for our farm blog. I think this comes from some where in California. I had never heard of a chicken rescue ranch before but this could explain why....California.

I can't say that we have ever had a terrorist hen before BUT we have had a few terrorist roosters....what they usually terrorized was us though. You carried something big in your hand and never turned your back for long.... we were also glad to bid them farewell. Enjoy......

"We now have three backyard chickens here at home. Until very recently, we had four. Pipi (pronounced pee-pee) is no longer with us, and good riddance! You might think of us as cold-hearted and uncaring for saying so, but we are really just bad farmers. We didn't choose for Pipi to leave us, she did. She is a murderess chicken, and slightly neurotic. Sure, she's an A-class layer, and her eggs are tasty and purdy, red-shelled and freckled, with a deep golden yolk. She's a great looking, healthy Rhode Island Red hen with a beautiful full comb and rusty-colored feathers. But, she's mean! Pipi was attacking our dear Prima, our golden chicken, aiming for the back of her neck and out for the kill. Our peaceful little team of chickens was in a state of terror, so the terrorist, Pipi, had to go.

Most farmers (good farmers) would kill her and enjoy a healthy homegrown chicken soup afterwards, and Guillermo was partial to following this course, but frankly, I have to say that I'm a "bad" farmer. I've grown attached to our homicidal hen, so what to do? Give her to a rescue ranch! Yes, there are chicken rescue ranches. It's funny, isn't it? There is a sweet lady with a bigger heart than ours who rescues unwanted, unloved chickens, even if they are murderous. I was quite honest with her that Pipi was insane, and that she takes the pecking order very seriously, but Cheryl (the chicken whisperer) didn't seem to mind at all. She thinks that Pipi will be an integral part of her flock of abandoned chickens at Black Hen Ranch. After all, she is a good layer. Cheryl sees the glass half full...

Farewell, Pipi. Prima, Pearl, and Negrita will not miss you. But we sincerely hope that you are enjoying your new life at the chicken sanctuary. You've got a lot going for you, ol' girl!"

posted by: Louise Joppeck

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Diversity in the Design

Multi-speciation is one of the things that sets our farm apart from others, particularly conventional farms. We attempt to create diversity in many different ways and areas, including our animals, our pastures, and our soils. God created diversity in nature, and that is the pattern that we are attempting to follow.

For example, by running the cattle and the chickens on the same pastures, we create a symbiotic relationship. In nature, birds follow behind herds of herbivores and sanitize the prairies of flies and parasites. Our chickens, in our eggmobile, serve this purpose in our the pasture, creating the best eggs available while they are at it! This relationship in turn creates healthier pastures and animals, which translates into healthier products for you and I. Diversity is what makes nature healthy and vibrant, and it does the same for our farms and food.

posted by Nathan

Thursday, December 11, 2008

3 Generations Down

When I decided to farm, I became the third generation of our family to farm the 60 odd acres. All three generations currently still live on the farm, too. The farm has certainly seen many changes in those three generations. It has only been within the last 5-7 years that the land has become fully utilized by us again and pasture became the primary crop.

What makes this multi-generational aspect so significant and exciting is that for the first time, a living could theoretically be made on this property. The fact that a family could survive on only 60 acres in our day and age is quite amazing. This is considering that many farmers run thousands of acres and still need off-farm jobs to survive. It is only because of the gracious support of our customers that this is even possible. Thank you all!

posted by Nathan

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Family Farming

Our next topic is the significance of being family owned. Families have been the cornerstone of civilization since the beginning of time. It is strong families that bind our society together. Hence the saying "blood is thicker that water." Without this most important of organizations, we would be in a bad way.

Family farms are disappearing quickly in our country. Sustainable Table has a good article about this, to which I have provided a link if you click on the title of this post. Globalization and corporate competition are making it increasing hard for family farms to be economically viable. As consumers, you can do make a difference by voting for the local family farm with your food dollars! Without the support of consumers, our nations small family farms will be replaced by corporate owned farms. This is frightening to think about, considering where this has gotten us already!!
Posted by Nathan

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Live Local

In the next several posts, I will explain little bit about our farm and our philosophies. As I mentioned before, our farm is a local, family owned, third generation, multi-species, grass based, responsible, beyond organic farm. In consecutive posts, I will break this down and explain the significance of each of these attributes. Today, I will talk about what it means to be local.
Local is, or should be, the life-blood of our economy and society. Small, local businesses are what drive our economy and provide a majority of the jobs in our country. Big, multi-national corporations can't begin to offer what the baker, farmer, or mechanic down the street can. They don't provide the personal relationship afforded by friends and neighbors. This is a key for our farm. Knowing our customers, as well as their needs is what drives our business. It keeps us responsibile and accountable.
Supporting your local businesses can be highly beneficial and rewarding. We make that effort every day. Keeping jobs and goodwill within your local area can only bring good to all!

Posted by Nathan

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Welcome to all!!
I believe a little information about myself and our farm is in order here. First, I am the owner of Fair View Meadow Farm, which I operate along with my family (Dad-John, Mom-Louise & brother-Chad) in Wellington, OH. I am also a graduate of the Polyface apprenticeship program and a full time student at our local community college. To say the least, I lead a busy life.

Our farm is what I like to call a "local, family owned, third generation, multi species, grass-based, responsible, beyond organic farm." Our overriding mission is to be model stewards of that with which God has so greatly blessed us.
Corporate farming is taking its toll on our society physically, environmentally, and emotionally. We are out to reverse this trend and promote responsibility amongst our nation's farms. This can only be done one farm and one customer at a time. To this point, I would like to take the time thank all of our customers who make what we do possible. All of you make our work both possible and rewarding.
The purpose of this blog is twofold---
1. To provide updates about our farm.
2. To provide info and discussion of relevant and interesting topics relating to the various social, environmental, political, economic, and moral impacts of agriculture in our world today.
Feel free to comment on anything you read or about any interesting topics you may have interest in.
We are also currently working on getting a website for our farm set up. Once it is ready, we will let you know and provide a link to it.
Posted by Nathan