Spring Hill Farms

  (Newark, Ohio)
Heritage Breed Pastured Pork, Chickens, Grass Fed Beef
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Staright Talk from a Young Farmer

Ever wonder what a 13 year old female farmer has to say about farming, food and finances?

Shelby Grenbec recently spoke out about her experience raising chickens, selling eggs, and gardening in an article in the Denver Post.


I loved the article! It is an honest assessment of where the sustainable farming movement is right now as well as the realities of marketing direct to the consumer.

She says things like:

"If you want sustainable, wholesome, pasture-raised organic, hormone- and antibiotic-free food, you have to support it. You can not get these things by talking about it and not paying for it."

If you read between the lines you see a girl who is wise beyond her years about people and money. I applaud her parents for teaching her these fundamental truths about life.

Shelby is getting a great head start in life by farming and earning money from the free market system we have here in the United States.

It reminds me of my boys. They have a good understanding that money doesn't just show up in the bank. It takes work. It means offering something of value to the market place and working to get the word out so folks will want to buy what you have.

I was disappointed to see she says she will not continue farming when she gets older. As Joel Salatin so eloquently pointed out one time, we have to have new, young farmers coming into the industry or the old ready to retire farmers can't leave. And when they do the big Ag model gets to fill in the gap if there isn't enough young farmers.

Perhaps Shelby will change her mind in the future but even if she doesn't, I wish her all the best and admire her honesty and hard work!

Read the entire article here: The Denver Post It's a great article.

Until next time...

Spring Hill Farms



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Farm Kids Stand Up and Take Notice

Picture I recently read the story of the youngest farmer to receive the Animal Welfare Approved certification.

Meet 12 year old Shelby Grebenc of Broomfield Co.

According to the article in the Animal Welfare Approved newsletter, she has 130 laying hens. She has named her farm Shelby's Happy Chapped Butt Chicken Farm because she says since folks can see her farm from the road people sometimes drop off chickens. She found a an empty box one day with chickens running around. They had no tail feathers and looked pretty sore so it seemed fitting.

Shelby started her farm when she was 10 years old by approaching her grandmother for a $1,000 loan to start a pasture raised egg business.

This stemmed from the situation at hand, her mother Nancy who has multiple Sclerosis was in a nursing home and Shelby wanted to expand the family's income. 

Shelby, my hat is off to you and I wish you well in everything you endeavor to do at your farm.

To read the Animal Welfare article go here.


 

 
 

What 2011 Holds and Five Steps You Should Take

Buckeye Rooster 

 

What does 2011 hold for you? What does it hold for the United States? It would be really nice if we could answer those questions definitively. However, we all know that's impossible. No one can tell the future with certain accuracy. We can tell the season though [more]

 


 
 

Full Spectrum Lighting for Goats, Pigs, and Chickens

Picture
Full Spectrum Bulb
I first heard of full spectrum lighting several years ago. Full spectrum lights are the closest light to natural sunlight available. It got me to thinking about how it would effect livestock during the long days of winter here in Ohio.

The main thing I was pondering was would it make a difference in piglets that are born in the early winter? I kept researching and came to the conclusion it would. Here is what one study indicated.




Scientists have discovered a new receptor in the eye that, among other things, monitors your biological clocks.

Apart from the other photoreceptors in your eye that allow you to see, this "third eye" responds differently to light by sending signals to your brain's hypothalamus, thus regulating your production of melatonin, which in turn controls your body's circadian rhythms.

Researchers experimented with lamps emitting different wavelengths of light on workers toiling in the high-stress environment on one floor of a health insurance call center. In comparison to co-workers on other floors, they felt more alert, and the quality of their work improved too. The Independent September 26, 2006

Picture
Tamworth Pigs in the Sun
Since I'm always striving to mimic nature, this new technology of full spectrum lighting seemed like a good fit for our farm. I first bought some bulbs from BlueMax Lighting(tm) and used them in my home.

I immediately noticed that after getting up in the morning and sitting under the full spectrum lighting I felt in a better mood. That was enough to convince my wife! Seriously, the only way I can describe it is I felt much like I do when I get up and go out on the deck and have a cup of coffee on a bright sunny morning. You start remarking how nice of a day it's going to be and get motivated to "get something done". Another reason my wife was convinced I should keep them!

They are a much whiter light than the yellow light bulbs we were using. Even though the evidence I experienced was anecdotal, I didn't need anymore convincing that there was something to this full spectrum lighting.

Some other benefits that are cited by proponents of full spectrum lighting is:

  • Improved mood

  • Enhanced mental awareness, concentration and productivity ...

  • Superior visual clarity and color perception ...

  • Better sleep ...

  • Super-charged immune system ...

  • More energy ...

  • Reduced eye strain and fatigue with a glare-free and comfortable reading environment ...

  • Greater learning ability and intelligence ...
Whether or not it actually has all these benefits, I'll leave up to you to decide.

My pigs haven't told me they're in a good mood or feel like they have less eye strain, but I can tell you this, it's another weapon in my arsenal to keep our new piglets healthy and growing when they are born in the dead of winter or when the days are getting short.

Full spectrum lighting is also a good way to keep milk production up with our goats. This is an area where you need to be careful. If you introduce full spectrum lighting too early in the Fall as days get shorter, you're goats may not breed. The shorter day for seasonal breeding goats is what triggers reproduction.

I wait until I'm sure they are bred and then use the lights.

Something else I've learned is full spectrum lighting in the hen house will definitely keep our laying hens going strong when they would typically stop laying eggs.

Years ago the farmer's wife would mix up hot mash to help keep the hens laying through the cold winter. We now know that it's more the deprivation of light that slows or even stops egg production. Chickens need between 14 and 16 hours of light. I set mine on a timer so they get light earlier in the morning and then later at night. Light also effects the molting period of chickens. It's a natural function of chickens to molt so we allow our chickens to molt and egg production ceases at that time to allow the hens to recuperate.

So if your hens are getting sluggish put some full spectrum bulbs in the hen house and watch what happens.

If you or your spouse are in the winter doldrums put some in the house too! (that won't help the egg layers by the way)

So to sum this one up, try some full spectrum lighting where you think you need it most and see what happens for yourself!

Until next time....
 
 
 

The Best Eggs For you and Your Family, Come From the Pasture

Time and time again science proves nature is the best provider of food. Human cleverness, as Joel Salatin calls it,can never quite get all the pieces of the puzzle together.

 

Here's a great video showing the nutritional profile of pastured eggs vs industrial agriculture eggs.

 

See it Here

 
 

Why you don't want to buy organic eggs from the grocery store

Dr Mercola let's the cat out of the bag on organic eggs at the grocery..

 

Read it here

 
 
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