Farm | The Story of Starting Our Farm
Since we first introduced Homestead Meats I have wanted to share with you the struggles and joy that have come with starting our farm. It has not been easy, and it isn’t done, but we are getting there and it brings a smile to my face to share our story with you!
Homestead Meats went from a dream to reality but not without blood, sweat and tears. We had talked about having livestock post-college after Matt met my first steer, Sir Loin. It was our plan to buy a farm and then start raising; however that changed when my parents offered up some of their acreage to get us started.
We started the planning process in December 2014. There were many hours of research of proper pasture management, feeding schedules, hay production and so many other things that go into starting a farm. Neither of us were raised on farms so there was a lot of information we needed to learn.
That winter we began clearing fencelines in order to make way for appropriate fences and secure additional pasture space. Wow was that a job! In fact we hate to admit this but we are still working on the last bit. Neither of us had any clue what we were getting into, how long could it possibly take to clear a few fencelines? We have found out… And the answer is long enough.
By spring 2015 we were tired and I was wanting to do something other than clearing fences. So I began ‘shopping’ for stock tanks, fencing materials and other necessary equipment. Thanks to several local farmers I was able to get a lot second hand which was a true blessing.
In May 2015 we hosted a ‘farm day’ which really meant come help us clear some brush… we had great attendance and the only casualty was the brush and my phone. We will see how the attendance is on our next ‘farm day’.
July 2015 we brought home our first steers and introduced them to their new home. They bonded quickly and made the months of work worth it.
This spring 2016 we expanded from 3 acres to 8 acres, meaning more fencelines needed to be cleared, more barbs strung and more blood, sweat and tears shed. We harvested our first crop of hay on our fields, and I had conveniently forgotten that hay day is always the hottest day of the summer.
This summer 2016 we brought home two sets of steer calves to the farm. With a total of 6 steers running our pastures we can finally say we have the beginnings of a ‘herd’.
We harvested 2 crops of hay off our fields in 2016 and are looking forward to better production next year.
As we are quickly approaching winter and our second anniversary to when it all began we are continuing to complete the first project list. The final barbwire fences and electric will be strung before November (I am determined to have this done), and we are hoping to start on our wooden corral before the ground freezes.
Like many experienced farmers have told us the work never ends, and they aren’t kidding. We are also learning that there are lots of lessons to be learned on the farm and not all of them are easy or fun to learn, but the joy of raising our own livestock makes up for it all. We have been so grateful for all of those who have helped bring this dream into reality. We owe a huge THANK YOU to all the brave souls who have helped us with many tasks along the way.
While our current location is not on our own homestead we look forward to starting an operation on our own land someday. Until then I will enjoy being ‘so close’ to finishing our current setup.