2017 2/2

December 29, 2017
The meaning.

Recently a question about beef management was posted on the Facebook page. It is a very important and critical question in buying grass fed beef. Luckily for you, we are able to discuss exactly how each animal is being managed and are able to follow along as we walk down the path to a healthier food system.
And where its going…
The question asked pertained to the cows. They asked if the cows were given grain to supplement their diets. Well, the answer is a residing NO. We do not feed our cows grain. The reason is simple. They don’t have gizzards and are not built to digest the feed correctly. A cow is a ruminant, with multiple stomachs built to digest grass. Feeding them any grain can shorten their lives and make them sick. Also, I don’t want to use antibiotics, so keeping them healthy is a great start to avoid antibiotic use. Grains will fatten them up quickly, and that’s why many farmers decide to go that route. A grass-fed cow will take close to 24 months to get to butcher weight, while a grain fed cow can do it in about 18. That’s a lot of missed opportunity when raising grass fed animals. But we don’t take shortcuts here. It’s not uncommon that a farmer will start the calf on grass but when winter comes or when they reach 12 months old, they start feeding them grain to beef them up. Haha.
A dairy cow needs a very high protein diet, without that they are unable to produce their maximum amount of milk. Grain will help here too; however, giving them any grain at all can increase their chances of mastitis. I would love to have dairy cows and sell raw milk in the state. And one day we will. Until then the beef cows are being managed to improve the pastures. Moving them daily over the last 2 seasons has improved the soil and the flora.
The optimal way in managing a dairy cow is to keep a strict cycle. Starting in the spring and continuing 250 days after, through summer and into fall, the grass is growing, producing protein and carbohydrate that match the cows’ needs. We would not milk during the winter, which will help the cow obtain proper protein intake. I would only milk once a day. This would be in the morning. This would allow for the calves to graze with their mothers throughout the day and nurse on demand.

December 22, 2017
A FREE Sweatshirt starts here.

I have prepared thousands and thousands of tax returns over the last 12 years. I am pretty good at it and will continue my work at The E-File Center in Menasha this year. I have very little experience doing business accounting and over the next year, with my fingers crossed, I will be part of a program that rewards saving and budgeting. In the program I will put away 175 dollars of earnings each month into a separate account. At the end of the year, those that succeed will be rewarded with a match of the savings to help pay for a major farm project.

With that being said, you can help me reach my goal by subscribing to our monthly Meat CSA. There are two packages. First is an 8 lb. a month subscription for 75 dollars. This great for a small family or individual that enjoys healthy local and convenient meats, right from your farmer. The next step up is a 1 lb. subscription for 140 dollars. These packages are farmers choice cuts, but will include all the favorite cuts and meat selections for each season. Regularly included in a meat box is beef, pork, chicken, turkey and in the fall of 2018… perch. Each month on the first Tuesday your farmer will deliver your product to your door.

From today until January 2nd, the first CSA delivery of 2018, any subscribers to the CSA will be given a sweatshirt to show our appreciation.

The program entry questionnaire.
Please describe your current Farm Business in 500 words or fewer.
The G Farm is ecologically diverse in the production of both plants and animals. Farm sales are made from the farm, by the farmer and through a weekly delivery program through its web presence. Being part of a growing local food economy and sharing all the components of farming with the consumer is a rewarding and always entertaining endeavor. We raise cattle, pork, turkey, meat and egg poultry along with rabbits and perch next year. Our long-term goals include many perennial fruit and nut trees, but in the short term, our annual garden and planting projects take a bulk of our time.

The farm consists of 27.2 acres with a 3.5 acres pond nearly centered in the property. About 21 acres of the property is being grazed by the cattle and the remaining portion is filled with outbuildings and the house. The property was purchased on April 30th of 2015. Our management values are rooted in restoration of the degraded property after a large highway was put in by the state taking a huge portion of top soil away, leaving a bleak subsoil. We have planted nearly 1000 trees bushes and shrubs in a silvopasture and have one more planting of trees to complete this next summer.

Although we are very diverse a bulk of the sales comes from the meat sold directly from the farm. I am very dedicated to the farm and am the primary caretaker. I have had a partner that shared responsibilities with me in the past two years in the garden, and this year we attempted our first season as a CSA. With my main focus on the animals and the benefits they have on the property in restoration, I plan on keeping that my focal point going forward and leaving the garden up to her or others in my tribe. We also have a bee keeper that partakes in the farm. 2017 was his first season and his learning curve was steep. He is motivated and encouraged and will be back for more in 2018.

Of course, farming is seasonal, and I look to maximize the seasons and the production that is available at that time. In the early spring I make maple syrup. Not long after that the garden goes in and farm animals begin to move onto the farm for the summer. During the summer the winter storage is done making hay and in the fall the harvesting of the summer production is completed. The one thing that never stops is the marketing, planning and sales. I write a weekly newsletter encapsulating what I have been up to, how something is managed or the benefits of the diverse bi product of the farm.

Please explain why you would like to participate in the Farm Asset Builder program.
For the past 12 years I have been a tax preparer in the state of Wisconsin. I have not done accounting as a profession and would value the knowledge, making decision making and project planning a less risky ordeal. I have trusted my gut and used my experiences to mitigate my mistakes, but as the farm grows, more valuable mistakes could be made that could damage the farm and inhibit its growth.

One of the outbuildings on the property is a 100 by 63 pole shed. It is only filled with gravel. My financial goal, in saving for an upcoming project would fill in about 1/3 of the shed with concrete. I have a wood burning stove that is set up to heat the shed in the event that it is filled with concrete. It also has two drains ready as well. I can see many things being done in this new workplace in the future. From processing turkey in November to teaching classes in March. This space extends the time I am able to work on equipment and process on the farm. I have a need for a warm outside space with easy cleanup and access readily available.

Please describe your need for financial management coaching.
For 10 years I had worked in my adopted Fathers financial firm. I was there when he was small and barley scraping by. The financial industry is very lucrative and having decided my morals lead me to a farm, my decisions in progressing the farm to a point at which it can sustain my sole income are ever more important. I understand small business can turn on a dime, and sometimes for the worse. I have since been fired from that position and luckily found myself at another small firm this time recycling old computers and reselling what has value. Here too I see the relaxed environment of a small business, yet having the ability to move and change quickly to improve sales and remove risk. I have seen how their decisions have led to their successes. I would very much appreciate a mentor and a new friend that has the farm field in mind in guiding me financially. Seeing first hand that this works better than this or that, and understanding the hours of dedication and tribulations of a simple breakdown of some sort.

I decided that I was going to take out a 5 year note for my cattle acquisition. I went to the FSA and met all the requirements except that I needed to attempt to find a loan at a financial institution first. I applied at my bank, but to no surprise to the FSA, my bank does not do cattle loans. So, I was denied at Bank Mutual and the FSA was there to assist me.

The general trend is positive for the farm, I would like to continue down this path as I see less asset acquisition and an opportunity to save. In my personal plan, my expectations were to have two years of larger expenses as a barrier to entry, gaining many of the tools of the trade and gear to facilitate the animals on the farm.

December 15, 2017

Last week I shared my recent grant content. It is lengthy, and I shared the only the first half. This is the remainder. If you missed it you can read this or any past content on the web page.
Describe your project timeline and expected date of completion.
This is a large project and it will take a substantial amount of time, organization and effort to accomplish. The implementation of this project will begin in late September and be completed by October 31. Fencing in the fall is not the best time of the year to do so, but protecting the young plants is important. After moving the trees out of the nursery onto the pasture, and after the water irrigation is set up, fencing off the rows is priority. This will take 5 weekends to complete. I have not had anyone help with fencing in the past, but I have hosted an event on the farm asking for the community to help plant a food forest. This expedited the planting process. To complete the 2018 planting and fencing project I may turn to the community for a hand again.
What expertise, experience, or training do you have to successfully execute this project?
This is the third and final leg of this three-year project. Each of the past two years I have made progress in planting and protecting the future of this farm. My first season fencing in cattle was not as good as my second and I expect that will be true going into this next year. I have learned that fencing is never done, and regular upkeep is necessary. Combating the grasses and vines that grow beneath the fence and fixing or replacing the steel corner posts that just don’t seem to stay straight is always on my to-do list. I have read a book on fencing, yes, a book. I have also gained knowledge from some pasture walks I have gone on. I have attended MOSES and found myself in an hour and a half class on fencing. I have no doubt in my mind that I have room for improvement, but my cattle are finding it more and more difficult to make their way off the farm and or into an area that is prohibited.
Is there any other information you would like to share about your farm or project?
This farm has been under my management since April 30th of 2015. In 2002, when the previous tenants owned the farm, a four-lane highway had replaced an old county road. The new highway needed fill, and many of the neighbors had sold off and the rights to soil beneath their crops. The state left behind a pond and exposed glacial sub-soils when they left. After 13 years of natural succession, I am looking to show my neighbors and my community how a farm can grow a beautiful healthy soil that can outproduce the corn and soybean fields that surround me while doing it more closely to how nature intended with diversity.
Amount requested from FACT (up to $2,500)
What is the total cost of your proposed project?
If the amount of the grant would not cover the entire cost of your proposed project, describe how you will pay for the remaining expenses (e.g. other grants, cost-share, out of pocket).
Additional expenses not calculated below would come from revenue generated from farming practices. The farm has had all the out of pocket expenses I can sustain and is now time to stand on its own two feet. With my previous experiences as a tax preparer, and laying out my own farm business plan, the 2018 projected income would cover the additional costs. Receiving the grant brings me one step closer to fulfilling my aspirations of farming for my livelihood. The above requested 2000 dollars does not pay for my time, but to receive the full grant availability would not go to waste nor greed.

December 8, 2017
Time of the year for grant writing.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been sitting down and writing out my farming goals for this next year and into the future. Each growing season is like writing a small business plan. I lay out how I will allocate my time, money and resources. Maximizing my production on this living growing organism, the farm, and working to make a living from it, Is a goal each season, but how. I am still early in the journey and asking for help in supporting something I believe so deeply in is not difficult. Here is a large scale project I will be working on next season. Building the forest from the ground up is the plan and here’s where 2018 its going.
Summarize your proposed project.
Growing trees in pasture while moving cattle through, seems nearly impossible. Yet building an ecosystem that maximizes production needs trees. This farm has been under a large transformation over the last two and a half years. There has been over 800 trees and shrubs planted on over 6 acres of once barren field. I would like to complete the project by continuing to fill another 4 acres with additional trees and shrubs. They will be planted in straight rows very densely, rotating the cultivar to increase diversity. Each row will be 60 feet apart. Funding for the remaining rows of tree planting is being covered by personal funds, however a need that this grant would fill is protecting these trees. I would use these funds to further protect the trees that have been planted with an additional wire and replacing some temporary poly wire. And fully fencing the 4 new acres of new plantings. The additional fencing will give the pigs new pastures that they can be moved, and make moving the cattle through the new four acres more practice giving more permanent barriers to work with.
Provide the specific goal(s) of your proposed project.
The main objective in fencing off the rows of trees, bushes, flowers, herbs and other perennial plants is to protect them in order to grow a happy and health ecosystem. Cattle like to nibble at small plants and trample them into the ground. Giving the trees extra protection will ensure that they grow to give protection to future animals from wind, rain, sun and anything else mother nature throws at them. An irrigation system is also integrated into the rows. This makes managing the animals seamless when they are moved around on the pasture during the warm months. It is imperative that these polyurethane pipes are cared for. Water management can be a daunting and time consuming task. Taking care of the assets on the farm is critical to the success of the farm. At one end or the other of a fenced row is a gabion. It is used to store rocks as they are uncovered in the fields. On the other end of the fenced in row are two wooden posts. On either side of the row are two strands of wire. Going forward 3 would be more efficient. In between each end are graphite posts with metal clips holding the wires. When the cattle are in between two rows of trees, I use a reel and poly wire to connect the hot perimeter fence to the islands of interior fencing where needed to move the animals.
Describe how your project will improve animal welfare on your operation.
Currently the cattle have minimal protection from the summer sun. Reducing that type of stress on the animals is important to improve the animals quality of life. Winter can also be a problem in an open field. The rows of trees and shrubs are perpendicular to the harsh north east winds of the Wisconsin winter. One tree that stands 10 feet high produces a windbreak for up to 100 feet down wind. In the winter while the cattle are eating off of round bales, those lines will reduce the calories needed to keep warm. If an animal becomes ill from a parasite, or some other natural cause, having a natural solution readily available for the animal to remedy the aliment is forward thinking. A cow will have a taste for black walnut or a bark of some other tree to fend off internal intruders before the farmer would even know there is an issue. This is all part of the diverse ecosystem growing on this farm.
List the steps you plan to take to implement your proposed project.
Farming is seasonal, and the season we are currently in is cold outside. This docent mean that this farmer lets off the gas peddle. The late fall and winter are for continued education., reading, grant writing, year end analysis, and next year planning. Over the course of this winter I will order about 400 more trees and shrubs to continue to build the rows of trees in this agroforestry system. In the spring these trees will arrive and will promptly find their place in the nursery. I am able to nurturer and give the appropriate care to these plants while they prepare for their permanent growing space in the fall. As a plant looses its leaves, the sugars that were in the leaves migrate to their roots and stimulate growth below ground. I use a two bottom plow to dig a trench where each of the rows will be planted. The saplings will be removed from the nursery in September and put into their proper row, buried and mulched with wood chips. When the water irrigation system is finished, fencing will be a priority. I plan to fence in October. I use two wooden fence posts on one end and a gabion from hog panel on the other. I will use 1/2 inch fiberglass posts in between the end with the gabion and wooden posts. Each intermediate post will be about 30 feet apart. In the past I have used two stands, but three will be much more appropriate.
Come back next week and Ill share the second half of the Grant… And we will get to the financials.

December 1, 2017
Why you should eat rabbit.

This is one of the most healthy choice products from the farm. I had seen earlier this year that it is gaining in popularity in Modern Farmer magazine. Each year a new enterprise is added to give you more choices, this years addition was rabbit… Farm raised perch are not too far down the line.
Rabbit meat is one of the healthiest meats for your diet. It may seem like a taboo meat in today’s society, but it was not that long ago that it was much more mainstream. It had been a dish on many dinner tables up until the 40s. At that time larger farms and farm operations began, and rabbit was left at the wayside because chickens and pigs were easier to manage in their new systems where antibiotics and smaller living spaces became more popularized.
On this farm the rabbits’ diet consists of high protein alfalfa pellets and grass along with any other garden scraps. Even today, early into December, the rabbits are eating the leftover stalks and leaves from the broccoli and cabbage. A rabbit is not going to get overweight eating a diet of greens. This in turn reduces your fat intake and keeps your arteries flowing without any issues.
The meat is considered white. To describe the flavor is difficult. Eating the meat of a wild rabbit is not at all the same. The wild rabbit meat has a very strong taste in comparison. Farm raised rabbit has a soft texture, it is easy to chew and needs to be given a chance. There are so many recipes to choose from. When I eat wild rabbit, I quarter them and fry the quarters in a pan. The high-class meat can be traded out for just about any chicken recipe. In looking for some recipes to share with you, one that stuck out that I haven’t tried but will very soon is a dish marinating the meat in Dijon mustard, olive oil and black pepper. And to leave hasenpfeffer off the list is an injustice. This is a very traditional German stew. I have not tried it, but it is fun to say.
Here is the recipe I will try. It is important to me to use my pantry items and reduce the need for visits to the grocery store. Knowing simple replacements for items is a good skill to have or learn. I don’t have white wine around. Maybe some dandelion wine, but I will probably substituent with some apple cider vinegar.
I hope you decide to give it a try. Remember, by supporting our farm you’re doing so much more than eating healthy, delicious foods. You are healing the planet through regenerative agriculture, supporting local family farming, and ensuring that humane treatment of livestock will continue here in Wisconsin.

Farmer Justin

November 23, 2017
I am thankful for this farm, this opportunity and all of the help and support that I’ve had so far. It’s been just over one year since I’ve decided what to do with my life. Since then I stated with and idea and a direction forwards becoming a farmer. I created the business entity, used my past experiences in business and tax preparation and took a leap. I’ve sold my house moved in with my Mom, and gave it one more year for preparing taxes. On April 30th I closed on my farm and the fun began. After a long summer of preparation for winter I have a years worth of work under my beat and 7 cows in the barn. It’s been expensive in more ways than one. I’ve take time that I use to spend from my friends and family and put every waking second working towards making farming a lifestyle. I am thankful to All of my family for your relentless support and help. Thank you to my friend for being there to help and to keep me sane. Thank you to the supporters I don’t even know for giving me the encouragement you have. Thank you to my neighbors new and old for the warm welcome and help you’ve given as well. A man I admire, Joel Salitain shares in a story once, how remarkable it feels to have people around you to want you to success not than even you yourself.

I hope you all have a special Thanks Giving!
Farmer Justin

November 17, 2017
Knowing your farmer and getting your questions answered.
The website has a FAQ section where guests can ask questions. I do my best to keep up with what is asked and work to be as transparent as possible. This last week I came across a fantastic question that needs more insight. Thank you, Carolyn, for asking…
First to answer where the feed currently comes from. The feed does not come from a local coop. Not the Larsen coop nor the Greenville coop. To buy from one of these suppliers is to not know, at all, where the grain was grown or with what type of management. For the past two years I have been going up to Pulaski and filling up my truck and trailer with 50-pound bags of pig, chicken, and turkey feed. Hog Wild had a craigslist post that I found when I was searching for feed. It is a small farm that has gone out its way and acquired the milling license to provide their feed to the public. Lowel farms with his son and is in his 60s and personally mills the feed he takes from his fields. He is not GMO free and he does use some herbicides. When I found Hog Wild I asked Lowel’s son Blair about transitioning out of chemical use. I had understood that was a direction they were interested in but has not gone forward with that practice. They have been a fantastic starting point for the farm and I value the relationship that we have built. My 2 and a half seasons on the farm pale in comparison to Lowel and his seemingly infinite wisdom.

The long-term plan for my farm is to mill right on the farm. The vision is to buy specific grains and minerals from local farmers and producers to concoct my personalized feed recipes for the animals. This next year will be a start in that direction. This past summer, I contracted a farmer, my Dad, to grow corn for the farm with the intention of milling it, mixing it, and feeding the pigs in 2018. The corn is not Non-GMO, but it was not sprayed with roundup or anything else. It is my belief that GMO corn itself is not inherently bad, it is the applications that farmers apply to them that make them so bad.

This next spring, I will bring the purchased corn and supplements to the local mill and ask them to grind it all up for the season. This winter I will do the math to make sure I do not overstock the farm with more pigs than they have feed. I expect it will come out to about 6. The pigs will again be raised out on pasture, rotated regularly and feed as much green materiel as possible.
I am not entirely sure what will happen with the pastured meat chickens. I would love to feed them a soy free mix as well as having corn that was not sprayed, but that may take some time to accomplish as well. Hopefully I find an affordable feed that can be sent here by pallet or in 1-ton feed bags directly to the farm by truck. Worst case scenario, I continue to have Lowel make this feed while I work on acquiring the needed sources of grain to make the feed on site. To give you an example of the price difference in this from a business standpoint, Lowel sells his feed for 10.25 a 50-pound bag. Going to the Greenville coop and buying a 50-pound bag of organic feed is 22.50, and that still has soy in it. If I mill on the farm I hope to bring the price down to 15 or 16 dollars a bag, almost like baking my cake and eating it too.

I answered the question online in far fewer words. I feel it is a pass or fail type question, and with that judgment, maybe I fail today. Hopefully you see the benefits I am providing with the system I am using. Hopefully you understand that the ultimate destination for this farm is so much more than GMO Free. If I could convey the whole holistic context of this farm to Carolyn it would sound much more like this. The G Farm is a grass based farm, meaning green, living grass is consumed by all the animals on pasture under the sun. They are all moved regularly giving back to the soil they derive their feed from. This in turn produces a better pasture for future animals and plants alike. Over the past two years nearly 1,000 trees and shrubs were planted in the middle of the pastures. This is a step toward excluding grains completely from the farm. Until then I will continue to push for a better feed, with better ingredients. Carolyn if you don’t have a farmer, hire me and we can all walk together into a better agricultural system.

Farmer Justin
November 10, 2017
Thank a Veteran.
I was in Fleet Farm the other day wearing my desert veteran sweatshirt and a gentleman shook my hand and said thank you.
Veterans Day is a special day, not because of the free dinners at all the restaurants, but because we reflect together as a nation to thank those that have served. I am a veteran and I won’t correct you when you thank me on Armed Forces Day or Memorial Day, but it’s not the appropriate time. On Memorial Day we mourn those that have passed while serving and Armed Forces Day we praise those serving.

Just after my senior year I signed up for the Army and served three years as a 92R Parachute Rigger. I packed parachutes in the 82nd airborne, served 9 months in Iraq, and did thousands and thousands of pushups. My time in the military seems some ways back already but the fortitude and grit I had gained have served me well. The friends that I served with were top notch. The guy with me in the photo is Joe. He has a big heart. Anytime we talk now, which is infrequent, it feels like we have picked up where we left off.
Waking up at 5 am to go on a 5-mile run and complete our physical fitness training was difficult on a few hours of sleep. I remember having strong thoughts on not wanting a job that I would have to wake up before dark and especially not in the cold. I am my mother’s son. We don’t like cold. Waking up early is much more tolerable when you do it for yourself while fulfilling a life goal. I still run myself thin, but progress is being made and the work is getting lighter. Some from experience and some from the extra hands that have been given.

Thank you Joe and all the other Veterans for your service.

Farmer Justin
November 3, 2017
Squeaky clean pork.
A question I hear all the time is about the pork and how its processed. We are happy to make the change in processors and clean up our act.
Last year was the first time using a processor. Prior to that I had butchered chicken myself on the farm. Wisconsin allows a farmer to process 1,000 fowl on farm, those birds can be sold either from a farm store on site or delivered on a route. It is not allowable to sell farm processed birds from a farmers’ market. This is quite weak, many states have much more lenient regulations on chicken. Rabbits do not have a limit and can also be sold to restaurants. Check back next week and see what might be changing as far as that goes. Any large ruminant, Beef and Pork must be processed at a USDA inspected facility.
Choosing a processor is a big decision. Just as any other big decision is made, I had to do some research and ask around. After going through the short list of options, I landed on Pond Hill Processing up in Wittenberg. One of the big advantages that Pond Hill had is that they process chickens. It’s great to do it on the farm but large batches can be a headache in the middle of summer. They are small, flexible and family owned.
The most valuable lesson I had learned last year is that you should schedule your pig processing dates as soon as you get your pigs. I managed to get one much later than I should have. A full-grown pig can eat you out of house and home. When I got to Pond Hill to pick up the pork, which I knew was not going to be nitrate/nitrite free, I asked if they had a way to clean up their processing.
Sodium nitrate is a great meat preservative, it keeps the fat in the meat from going rancid. This is an age-old practice and has helped feed families in the winter for hundreds of years. Within the last 100 years the practice has changed, and a syndicate nitrate is used in the process. I understand why someone would be interested in reducing the risks of eating unnecessary and unproven chemicals.
Unfortunately, when I asked that they make an adjustment for the future pork, they were not willing to accommodate. I began seeking a new processor and landed on Becks Meat. I am excited to make the switch. They are closer, more helpful and more accommodating.
With all that being said, Pond Hill processing is still in the mix when it comes to poultry. Becks will be the beef and pork processor. Starting this Tuesday, the new cuts from Becks will be out for delivery and starting Tomorrow they will be available on farm.

Farmer Justin
October 27, 2017
Not so Squirrely story.
This last weekend I began my quest for a whitetail deer and would you believe that I saw a squirrel.
Before the farm, the only meat in my freezer was wild game. Hunting is a great way to eat healthy local food. Although there is so much more variety in my freezer today, I still take the time to go out and enjoy nature.

I didn’t begin my hunting journey until I was 24. It was gun season, and I didn’t succeed. I sat out in the cold for the first two days, sun up to sun down. It didn’t take long for me to realize how skittish the deer were. That next season I picked up a bow. I spent a bunch of money on all the necessities and more. Have you ever heard of the 99-dollar tomato? Well, the same goes for deer. I spent a lot of time and money on my newfound hobby and was doing it all wrong. I brought the deer to the processor, bought all brand-new equipment and was so selective on my shots that I gave up good deer in hopes of finding a trophy.

My hunting land is in Manawa. It’s a hardwood sugar maple ridge. This is where the maple syrup is collected for sugaring. I was out there this last Saturday morning and only saw the tail of a deer as it slid through the brush. I decided to go out again on Sunday but moved to a different stand, my favorite one. I have seen a lot of action in this stand and it’s a bit tricky to get into, so nobody else sits there. As the sun came up, the squirrels came out.
I sat there in that big oak, twisting and turning to see if any one of those squirrels was actually a deer, getting less patient and curious of what was happening on my phone. As soon as I grabbed my phone, I heard a distinctly different crunch. It was a deer at my 6 o’clock, not a doe or even a little buck. It was easy to make the quick decision, I stood and drew while he was behind a tree. He paused there to observe something he noticed was different, but not long. He took two steps forward and then I released. It was a about 30 yards out. I hit him well enough that he went down within the next 20 yards. He is probably about a 2 and 1/2 year old buck with an 8 point rack and 14 inch spread. Not the largest buck I’ve gotten but a highlight in my hunting scrapbook. I have had deer run quite a way after a shot, and it’s not an easy feeling.

I told you all of this to talk about squirrels. In the two and a half years here on the farm, I have not once seen a squirrel here. The habitat just isn’t here yet. I can’t wait until it is! When the oak and chestnut trees start to produce they will come.

Good luck to all my fellow hunters.

Farmer Justin

October 20, 2017
A green thumb is earned.
A special thanks to everyone who came out and pitched in at each of the stages of the garden. We had some familiar faces out week in and week out, and it was absolutely appreciated. More gratitude is due to those of you that financially participated in the 2017 CSA. We hope you enjoyed your season and helped nourish your loved ones.
As you may know Emily and I have been gardening together for the last two years. We hardly ever agree on anything yet both want the cleanest, tastiest vegetables we can produce. Our planning began back in February. We put down in writing what we thought we could grow and the length of time we expected it to take till we could harvest it. The rotation of crops, the quantity of seeds and the maximum production were all carefully measured. When it comes to weeding, pruning and harvesting we each have our roles and our expectations of one another. I would have to say overall after a long hard year, I am proud of what Emily has contributed to the farm. She works efficiently and is absolutely dedicated to building a resilient healthy soil and fruitful harvest.
To measure success this year I will use the previous year as a marker. First the garden size in 2016 was about 1/10th of an acre. We decided to increase that to just over 1/3 of an acre. The other major change we made was to make straight rows. Last year we had beds that were not set to any standard and measuring our production was difficult and weeding was a nightmare. Though it’s easier to weed a straight row, it’s still not a pleasant activity. Last year we watered with an overhead sprinkler. It wasn’t the worst but we did make an improvement to a drip irrigation system. It’s set by a timer and is a huge difference maker in saving me time and brain energy. Some of the items that produced best were the tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, dill and our salad mix. To be honest, my favorite part of the CSA is the salad mix. Some of the things that we had never grown before that seemed to do well were eggplant and celery, which is a very hard plant to grow.
Another thing to mention is that every plant we grew, we started from seed. That’s awesome: onions and celery are very difficult to grow from seed and need some special techniques. Some of the biggest strides we made were on the harvest end. Having access to a cooler made sorting product and organizing for deliveries a dream in comparison to the old refrigerators we jammed things into last season. I am proud of the successes that we had and all that we had learned in a positive light.
Our failures were very self-evident, like when you paint a room yourself and you miss a little spot over in a corner that nobody else will see, but you see every time you walk in there. We wish we had more squash, melons and onions. We felt we could have done better with our corn. Although we were not adding the nitrogen the same way as row crop corn farmers, we still have a toolkit and should have given them more of what they needed. We tried to trellis the cucumbers, but they didn’t grow up our trellis as we expected. This gave us a shorter duration of harvest. The late season cabbage was devastated by cabbage worms and our potatoes had their battles too. Lastly our harvest schedule should have been a little more compressed to allow for some of the late season vegetables to get a little larger.
I would venture to say that between Emily and I the work load was filled for the two days a week we had dedicated to the garden. More efficiencies need to be made to increase our profit margin. We put massive amounts of time into the garden in all stages of production – planning, planting, harvesting and delivering. We look forward to growing as a farm and continuing to be a great local source for healthy foods for you and your family.

Farmer Justin

October 13, 2017
The Lime Light.
Over this summer we worked outside, and over this winter we will show you what we worked on.
In the interviews that I have been through I have had some difficult questions sent my way. I always answer them honestly and with as much thought as I can put into it. There have been a few questions that really stumped me. The latest was in an interview for a film project that my buddy Adam is working on for us. Over the summer he has come out a handful of times, at different growing stages of the seasons. He has put together a story board working out, orchestrating and planning a series of clips to show how the farm operates. The goal is to share what makes The G Farm distinguishably different from our current food system and capture the early stages of what will be long standing forest of food.

This past week Adam came by to poke and prod me with some questions to tie pieces of footage together. He started in an abrupt manner asking, “The G Farm is?” I needed to fill in the blank. So, I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. I am sure I didn’t answer it as well as I could have. I didn’t have my thoughts together to put the words into a sentence that encompassed that which The G farm IS.

With my collected thoughts the words I would use to encapsulate the farm would be as follows

The G Farm is an interpretation of a Restorative agricultural system that is built to finance my life in an ethical and prosperous manner while bettering people and the planet.

This philosophy brings me back to one of the first books I read on farming, Mark Shepard’s book Restoration Agriculture. He has given me more insight on how to farm in a natural way and been more influential than any other person, farmer or farm manager.

The clips of our film that I’ve seen were done with a drone. We did a flyover of me doing chores and moving the cows. It was hard to ignore the drone while it buzzed around. The cows were fascinated with it too. They are so curious. Fortunately for me the cows were having a good day and moved right into their fresh pasture.

I will practice my patience while Adam does his work and puts the videos into his masterpiece. He is very good at what he does and contributes to the Bergstrom commercials. He’s even tried filling in for Aaron Rodgers. Some of his responsibilities include holding the mic and setting up the lighting for the shots. Needless to say, I’m excited to share it with you.

Until then,
Farmer Justin

October 6, 2017
Standing with the local producers
There has been a small group of people in Oshkosh that have been working hard to bring a local food co-op to the community. As their 551st or so supporter I am looking forward to the mutual benefits we can bring to one another.
There are huge co-ops all over the countryside that help farmers find seed and chemicals that they apply. Then at the end of the season they buy back the yield. This practice is pretty standard in the corn, soybean and other cereal grain markets. The farmer has nowhere to turn to sell the product other than the big buyers that can store and sell the equally huge quantities to the distribution channels they have established.

One of the reasons I have decided to sell food directly to you is that there is a lost opportunity when selling back to the co-op. It’s like hiring a middle man to take care of the sale. You have the unique opportunity to purchase right on the farm where the food was grown and all the value goes directly into this farm and back into the production to expand what’s being done. When you do business with this farm, the profits in turn are regenerating more land, sequestering more carbon and giving additional opportunity for the expansion of this model of farming.

There are other local co-ops in some neighboring communities in Wisconsin selling food that is locally produced. These co-ops are set up like a grocery store. They bring together food from producers and sell the items from the store front. We don’t have one in the Fox Valley yet and we hope that this changes soon. The Oshkosh co-op is this type of establishment. They are 3 years into their startup and have about 550 plus members. When they reach their goal of 750 the plan is to put up shop.

I will surely take part in the consumption of their products. Although a bulk of my calories do come from the farm at this point, they will have items that I don’t grow and items I fell short on growing that will keep me fed. Their goal is to keep as local as possible. They did tell me that bananas are not grown in Wisconsin and they will be doing what they can to have fruits like this too.

Some of the benefits that I look forward to that are not so apparent are the shared costs to access to particular feeds for the animals on the farm. I may only need a ton of chicken feed at a time and that has a cost of about $10.25 a 50-pound bag, but if myself and 9 other chicken farmers from the co-op get onto a delivery together, maybe we can get that price lower. Sharing equipment is also a possibility. Maybe the co-op will get some freezer space and give new farmers a space to keep food cold, or maybe they will rent out freezer space on other farms. There are so many possibilities here to help build our local food shed.

One thing I wouldn’t expect is for The G Farm to sell all its products from the co-op. If anything, it would be a select few items, maybe chicken and fish, but only time will tell.

I encourage you to take a peek at what the Oshkosh Food Co-op is doing and think about joining yourself. It’s a great cause and they have flexibility in their enrollment fees. You could pay as low as 11 dollars a month or a painless one-time payment of 180 dollars.

Farmer Justin

September 29, 2017
What exactly is Pastured Poultry?
About 100 years ago it took all summer for a farmer to get a chicken to grow to the size that was fit for a meal. Recipes used back then had the birds in the crock pot for the entire day to get the meat to soften up for consumption. Today those old birds get sold as stewing hens.
This last week I came across a local farmer’s TEDx Talk. Shawn runs a farm pizza operation down in Fond du Lac called PoCo Pizza. We traded some pizza for some duck so he could try out some new dishes. The pizza was outstanding. I was happy to see the Oshkosh Coop post his talk on their Facebook page. It was well done and brought up some good discussion points.

Chicken today is in no way what our ancestors ate. The breed most often used today is called the Cornish cross. It’s a white bird that grows fast – like the way you feel between Thanksgiving and Christmas. A chick born on Thanksgiving would barely even make it that long. They can grow to a dressed weight of 5 pounds in about 6 weeks. I’ve raised these birds in the past, but not in the same conditions as they are raised by the industry. In these systems, a bird is brought into a huge concrete pad filled with orange watering dishes and feed trays. The temperature is monitored closely and feed is finely tuned for optimal feeding and production. They never see the light of day and are pumped to the crop with antibiotics, but they grow fast.

Over the last year or so there has been a push to reduce the dependency on this type of management practice. McDonalds and others have such a stronghold on the production of these birds that it takes years for them to allow for the farmers who supply them to change their systems. This past March McDonalds said they would remove antibiotics from their chicken within two years.

Well why wait? This farm does not use antibiotics. Instead we rely on a healthy rotation over the grass to keep the chickens from sitting in their droppings. When an animal sits in the same place for long enough, bacteria, parasites and other problems can arise without the use of antibiotics. The chickens here supplement their grain feed with grass and bugs at each spot. This gives the birds a healthy, well-rounded diet. You can taste the difference, I promise!
The two breeds that have been raised here are the Cornish cross and the Freedom Ranger. The Cornish X eats about 10 percent of its calories in grass, while the Freedom Ranger eats 30 percent in grass. This is a world of difference from their counterparts in confinement. At the same time, the Cornish X have been bred for so long to survive in the perfect conditions that they give them indoors, they literally look for ways to die before they experience harsh conditions. Freezing rain, cool nights or a hot summer day can all knock out a handful or more.

This last weekend my Mom and I butchered some of the birds on the farm. She mentioned how much better these birds were in health than the last ones. The only difference has been breed. The Freedom Ranger takes about 14 weeks to grow out, almost a month longer than the Cornish X. This conversation just reinforces that the ability to talk to your farmer and know your food has such an impact on your personal health.

Grass is so important to their diet and the benefits are passed on to someone who consumes them. So, if you eat a chicken being fed antibiotics, there is a chance that your body could create a resistance to it and when you might need it due to some infection or other needs, it is that much harder to get your body right. The Freedom Rangers are darker meat and absolutely mouthwatering. This next week I will be bringing the remaining birds to the butcher to have them processed and put into the freezer. When you are ready to place your order, you know where to go.

Farmer Justin

September 22, 2017
The seasons of change are upon us.
I am excited to announce that the beef herd has grown to a size that will allow for beef to be a part of the available meats. With this American staple at the dinner table, I am going to give priority to families who are subscribed to our monthly meat CSA.
We live in a beef nation, and its about time that the farm is going to start managing the herd to keep the capacity equilibrium with the land in check. With that in mind, the beef has a day set aside in late November and will be going into the boxes in December or January, depending on when the butcher has it wrapped up.

There are two size CSA bundles available, an 8-pound and a 16-pound option. The Family Share, (8 pound) will have a subscription fee of $75.00 per month. The Farmer’s Share (16 pound) monthly subscription fee is $140.00. The shares will be delivered each month on the first Tuesday to anywhere in the Farm’s delivery area. That can be found on the FAQ page.

A share may contain Beef, Pork, Chicken, Turkey and, at some point next year, Perch. I am working hard to establish a fish production system on the farm, from the pond to your plate at home. There will be flexibility and some customization of your shares to include other things like rabbit or eggs if you would like. If you are gone for a month or need a month to clear out your freezer, just give some notice and we will be happy to accommodate that. I will do my best to give you a variety of cuts and selections that will be useful for most families.
Beef cuts include: rib, porterhouse, T-bone and sirloin steaks, chuck and rump roast, stew meat, and ground beef. Pork cuts include chops, steaks, roasts, shanks, sausage, bratwurst, and bacon. Chicken may be whole or by cuts with the bone in, and turkey will be whole and available in the week before Thanksgiving. The perch is not included at this time but will find its way into your share as soon as it becomes available, probably August of 2018.

To order go to the website and click on the Meat CSA tab. It will give you a description and a PayPal payment option. This will be billed monthly and each month will bring a little different spin on the delivery.

I hope that you find this opportunity helpful and easy to keep a continuous supply of farm raised meats available to your family. Not only does it taste great, but the ecology and carbon cycle on the Farm is benefiting as well. Hiring a Farmer may be the next step to a healthy body and soul. I look forward to being part of your valued local resources as you help me lead the change I want to see in the world.

Farmer Justin

September 15
The Backyard Garden
Growing up I remember the garden on the old dairy farm, although I definitely didn’t do much work in it. We had a trampoline of sorts, before there were trampolines. It was a huge sponge, maybe 10 foot by 8 foot by 5 foot, covered in vinyl. That’s beside the point. Starting back in the first house I purchased there was a point I realized that the bare essentials could be grown right in my back yard. My first garden was no bigger than the big sponge we had as a kid. It was put under an oak tree, down by a creek. The soil was good, but it was too shaded to make anything but a few scraggly little carrots. Before long, I moved the garden, quadrupled it in size, and started a small backyard chicken flock. They loved all the scrap from the kitchen and garden. It was so easy to keep a few birds, I hardly noticed them after a few years.
The vegetables I kept were beans, some salad greens, of course tomatoes, onions and peppers. I tried some squash, kale and cucumbers too. Some things did better than others. Like my carrots that first year, something just wasn’t right. Since moving onto the farm, I have tried growing corn. I see farmers all around me doing it. It can’t be that hard, right? Well, it is. (Well unless you use round up and supplement it with some extra nitrogen.) I have been finding it difficult to get the corn up to an adequate size.
Did you know that seven days after the seed sprouts, the genetics in the corn will determine how many ears it will have, and fourteen days after the corn sprouts, it will already be determined how many kernels will be on each ear? So, starting it out in the right environment predetermines the quality of the corn. Each year I am getting closer to my desired outcome, but I’m not quite there yet. So, if you are a CSA member, please see my efforts to not use chemicals to improve the product.
Initially my path into agriculture was to prepare for some wild apocalyptic events that could disrupt the way we live. More simply put, look at the most basic need – food- and realize “I can grow something to reduce that stress”. Food storage is the next logical step. I started canning and freezing all kinds of fruit and vegetables. As the trend continued I thought “Not only did I depend on the grocery store for food, but I depended on my employer for the revenue needed just to buy the food.”
This is the seed sprouted into The G Farm, and it serves as a reminder to why I started my first garden. I hope that you and your families are safe with the two hurricanes over the past few weeks. If you don’t have a pantry of food, I think it’s a reasonable precaution. You never know when you might find yourself in a predicament where nothing else matters except that you eat or drink something clean. The most impactful events occur right in your home, with the loss of a job.

Farmer Justin

September 8, 2017
Natural vs Science
This past month of August, there were three cows who were selected to be bred. These three are the lead cow who had twins this past year, and two younger cattle. One of the younger ones seems to be a good cow for the future, while the other only had age on her side.
The Spring before the same five cows had 5 calves, which were bred to a black angus. My desired breed for the farm is Hereford. My belief is that they grow quickly and effectively on grass without grain at all. They have wide muzzles giving them the ability to put more food down in each one of their 30,000 bites each day. Of the five calves two were little bulls, but over the year I decided that neither one of them were adequate for a long-term investment on the farm.
I had to rent a bull again this year. I geared up my truck with the trailer and went over to the bull owner’s farm, loaded the bull up and brought him to his temporary home. He was easy enough to get here and off the trailer. When I came to introduce him to the ladies, it went pretty well. I tracked and noted the dates that their hormones were flowing and now we wait.
In this next season, I hope to utilize one of the three bull calves that were born here this spring. There is nothing like keeping a bull that was raised on the farm for the farm. I believe genetics are passed down and adapt to the environment much more quickly than we can even imagine. So, like the tomatoes and watermelons, the animals that are bred on farm will have a more desired trait than some far away farm in a different climate. I look forward to improving the life around me by selecting the best from the best.

Farmer Justin

September 1, 2017
The Real Dirt on Farmer John.
You may have seen that I was looking for a hand this past weekend to watch the on farm store. My Family came through and did watch the store for me, so thank you to those that reached out and to Dave and Kay for helping.
I arrived a little early, as every good vet does, and introduced myself to the group and waited patiently for my time to share. Things went well and I was able to help some specific questions on early funding opportunities and land access questions that had come up and were concerns for some of the vets. A highlight for me was the farm tour. To get a scope of this farm, they have over 3000 CSA customers. Their field has over 60 acres of vegetables, and the compost pile is as big as our garden. It was impressive. Some of the tools they used were huge and able to make light work of the scale that they are working at.
I will not be working to garden at that scale, but I did meet some fantastic veterans and farmers that I wish the best of successes to. The Angelic Organic Learning Center does have some other programs that may be beneficial to me as I grow as a farm and a businessman.

Farmer Justin

August 25, 2017
Functional Fitness.
Running, squats, lunges, sit-ups, dumb bell curls, and a variation of exercises with the kettle bell are a thing of my past. I used to spend 10 or more hours a week keeping myself fit.

Before the Farm
I can remember while I was in the army standing in one of our formations at 6 am, thinking, when I get out of the army I don’t want to have a job in which I will have to get up early. Then we began running one of our 5 mile runs. We ran Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Tuesdays and Thursdays, we did push-ups, sit ups and whatever else the physical fitness trainer wanted to do to bring the pain.

I wasn’t a strong kid in high school, so basic training was a real muscle building experience. It was the first time I had to be strong. There was one point after the military that I was so close to 200 lbs., chubby not muscles, I was literally trying to get over the hump. I was uncomfortable and out of shape, so I began my workout regimen again. I started by running. When you get a few miles in, and your thoughts drift off and your legs just keep moving, I love it. That wasn’t enough, I wanted to get a little muscle on my running frame, so I bought some weights and put them in my basement. I got back on the same schedule I had when I was in the Army, but it was at 5pm after work.

All of this was brought about when I was watching JP Spears talking about his functional fitness regimen. Don’t take him too seriously, he makes me laugh a lot. Take a look here.

Last week I woke up at 5:30 am to do chores as normal, but things weren’t working smoothly when I was out moving the cows, chickens or turkey. There were several additional trips that were made to pick up some helpful tools and supplies to get the jobs done. When I got to work just before 8, I was surprised to see that I had walked over 3 miles at that point already, all on the farm. The whole day was in front of me. It was a long day but it wasn’t the worst. Looking through my phone for some days that were big calorie burners, I found one that had 20.9 miles. I was building some exterior fencing for the farm last July. All the days of that month were at least in the mid to high teens. Fortunately, I’m young enough and stubborn enough to do projects like that myself. Someday I will be hiring jobs like that out, or working with a farm hand.

Needless to say, I am in great shape without the gym membership costs, without the cost of healthy food and without having to leave the backyard. There are simple things you can do in everyday life: Park in the back of the parking lot, avoid the traffic and customers walking into the store. Stand or walk around at work when you can. Use a posture ball to keep from slouching. Using your core to help support you will drastically improve your back alignment. I hope you find healthy living in your life. It is one of the hidden benefits and joys of farming.

Farmer Justin

August 11, 2017
Ledgeview neighbors might get pond?
I saw a news story at lunch the other day that caught my attention. I found an article that covers the story online. If you would like to read it you may click Here.

Lagoon havoc
Just outside of Green Bay in a little community called Ledgeview there is a farm looking to add some infrastructure to help contain manure. Their project is to construct a 10 acre manure lagoon to hold their cows’ waste. This is a problem for neighbors due to the possibility of water contamination, reduction in property value, and the unpleasant aroma from the anaerobic environment. Some of the residents in the area have been working together in an attempt to prevent the new facility. One of the neighbors in particular has made quite a name for himself in the area. You may have heard of the Packers head coach Mike McCarthy.
I don’t blame the community for coming together to try to prevent the lagoon. The smell alone is reason enough for residents to flood the town meetings to share their thoughts. One contrasting management style that differs on a holistically managed farm is that pits are not needed. We are looking to mimic the natural patterns of a herd moving across the land. The cattle graze and walk as the herd moves long distances in their migratory patterns. With property lines and fences protecting them, farmers need to section off each day’s grazing paddock to allow for the animals to eat enough that day and have enough land to move on to a new paddock each day after.
To help prevent parasites, it is best to keep each paddock’s grazing 40 days apart from one another. In doing this, you don’t lagoon cow manure, it fertilizes the soil naturally. It doesn’t stink as it is aerobic, meaning air and the Krebs cycle help break down the matter.
Lagoons are a consequence of the industrial food system we have built over the last 50 years. The demand for cheap milk and other dairy products, corn and beans have driven the food system far enough. The inability for the small farmer to compete with confinement operations is something we need to recognize. We need to build small, direct food market solutions to bring balance and beauty to our back yards, not lagoons. If you eat, you are voting with your fork. If we don’t make changes these problems are going to continue as urban sprawl creeps into the fields of farms.
Remember, by supporting our farm you’re doing so much more than eating healthy, delicious foods. You are healing the planet through regenerative agriculture, supporting local family farming, and ensuring that humane treatment of livestock will continue here in Wisconsin
Farmer Justin

August 4, 2017
Amazon.com Buys Whole Foods for 13.7 Billion
“That’s quite an acquisition!” The question I had was, what are they going to do with a high-end grocery store?

This Small Farmers Thoughts
Amazon.com is a company I respect and appreciate. I love the convenience, bringing the goods I want or need directly to my door. The website is streamlined, detailed and includes reviews of customers praising the successes of a product or picking it apart based on its failures. Entire businesses have been built within Amazon, and many others have added revenue through Amazon. A few years ago when Amazon began its Amazon Fresh campaign, I took notice of the company’s new direction. The idea of having fresh produce directly to the door is about 100 times cooler than a milk man delivering back in the 20s. Over the years the distribution network has been fine-tuned and is extremely efficient. They deliver to prime members in two days. My sister said it had spoiled her when I was talking to her about it.

One of the distinguishing differences between this farm and one down the road is that I need to market my product, and what better way to do that than to use the internet. And if I’m going to do something, I may as well follow the recipe for success that Amazon has blazed. When I started The G Farm in 2014 I took into consideration what Amazon was doing to get products to consumers.

Many small business owners use services like Wix or Square Space to build their websites. This leaves optionality out, and comes with a big price tag. I built the farm’s site myself at a fraction of the cost. However, I can’t do it all. I must use what’s called a “plugin” to stream the Instagram photos onto the page. To keep the online store running I use a service called Shopify. Now, they are more expensive, but they do a lot for me. It allows me to sell online and to keep an accurate inventory of the products available. It also gives me a platform to accept online payments, which are all nice.

With Amazon purchasing Whole Foods many small farmers have been listening for some indication of their intentions. I have heard there have been some meetings that have taken place between the Executives of Amazon and some of the more successful ranchers that provide food directly to their customers. To read more about this in a great article click HERE
Some small farmers fear that Amazon will use their infrastructure to bring that small farmers’ goods to their local market and reduce the need for farms like this one to direct market. This could slow the farmers’ market traffic, and build an even more steep barrier to entry for new farmers. The efficiency of a farm operation to run at scale would have to be streamlined.

But part of the mystique of this farm is that the products come from here, and are brought to you by this farm and its farmers. It is all the little things that are adding up and paying the bills. When there is a middle man, I must pay him for his service. This further separates the end consumer from the goods grown or raised on the farm. Another added value in working with a small, local farm is customization. We work for you, and if you want something specific, if it’s possible and others have been looking for it as well, we will probably make the business decision to move in that direction. Lastly this farm prides itself on its regenerative aspects, and to see the transformation from a bleak and tattered old farm to a live and teaming ecosystem is reason enough for this farm’s fan base to stick around.

I believe there will be some large farms that will take part in the new Amazon food distribution network, and they will be looking to get paid well, as long as they increase efficiencies and increase volume to keep up with demands. The small farmer that is looking to get going will also be able to take part in the sales network as well, but they will both be losing some of the value in the direct from farm to consumer experience. By no means is this bad, its surely a step in a positive direction from the naiveté that is experienced at a grocery store today, but it’s not pristine or not from Farm to Table in its purest form. I am not afraid of the change in the market. This farm is a cut above, I hope you find value in having a farmer working for you. I know I enjoy it.
Farmer Justin

July 28, 2017
Competitive bone
I’m not sure what it is about competitiveness that gets me fired up but I sure do like being right, being faster, more efficient, more accurate, a step ahead and stronger. None of these were true when I was in school. I played baseball when I was in elementary school and a little football when I was in middle school, and I was mostly on the bench. I didn’t push myself to the brink. I didn’t have passion or self motivation to archive the goals. Don’t get me wrong, I collected sports cards with every spare penny I found. I wanted to be a baseball player, more specifically, Nolan Ryan. I would beg my sisters to throw whiffle balls in the yard so I could perfect my ball eye coordination. That didn’t last long, when they got pegged by a whiffle ball that was a quick end to family help.

I can talk sports with someone for hours. Its a good conversation top. The choice is better than the weather, and if the other person is a fan, instant comradery is shared in knowing they wear the same war paint come game time. The best teams are all from Wisconsin, you can ask the Bears.

As Football season approaches I begin to prepare myself to harass and ridicule my friends with brash commentary. This rudimentary behavior is a highlight of each fall. Fantasy football applications are all over my phone. I get alerts when a player gets a hang nail, so to say its important for me to beat my friends each week, it may be an understatement. On Game day I check the scores.

With the Brewers doing so well I have been turning the dial to Bob Youker in the evenings as the Crew gives it a go. This weekend the Brewers have the Cubs coming to town and the Brewers will battling to keep the division for themselves. You may want to watch ESPN to see if you can find me as I bring my game face to Miller Park this Saturday. My friends and I will be soaking up the suds and grilling up a storm. Hope you have a good weekend. We sure will!

And how does this apply to the Farm. It doesn’t… and that’s the beauty.

Your Friendly Sports Fan,
Farmer Justin
July 21, 2017
The value in having a farmer deliver.
The farm is only a short 20 to 30 minute drive from the Appleton and Oshkosh but you don’t need to come to the store to support local foods. UPS is not the answer either. A farmer will come to your doorstep!

Time is Valuable.
Through the hustle and bustle of the week it may be hard finding time to make a trip to the Farm. High quality food is important for you and your families diet, that’s why we will make the time to bring it to you and your community. Here’s how it works at The G Farm.

Every Tuesday at 4 o’clock I load the truck with our vegetables and meats and deliver directly to your door. It takes between 3 and 4 hours to make the rounds, so you can expect a delivery before 8pm. Its easy to be a part of the delivery route by ordering online. On the website you are able to purchase chicken, pork, eggs, vegetables, herbs, maple syrup and so much more. If you are busy Tuesday evenings no worries, place your cooler with an ice pack outside and I will put your items in your cooler.

There are a few payment methods to chose from. The one that is most specific is to Pay on Delivery. If you are not going to be there when I arrive, I can send you a PayPal request to pay by credit card or you can make out a check.

Doorstep deliveries accounts for about 40 percent of the Farm business. I can’t think of a better way be part of a local agricultural food system than supporting a farm that delivers. There are hundreds of happy consumers of our products. Our reviews on Facebook show the quality and service are meeting and exceeding expectations. Take a minute to order and I’ll take a drive to share the bounty of the harvest.

Farmer Justin

July 14, 2017
How to Minimize Waste, Increase Efficiency, and Maximize Value and Profits with Less Work
My buddy Casey told me about this book he had read and how it was helping with some decision making on his farm. Since then I have done nothing until I heard a podcast featuring the author.

Organization is my middle name.
In an overview the book uses a strategy implemented by other large industries to increase business efficiencies. There are 5 pieces to the lean puzzle:

1. Sorting.
2. Setting in order
3. Shining
4. Standardizing
5. Sustaining

In purchasing an old farm, you are guaranteed to find piles and piles of old junk. Every farm has them around if you look close enough. The previous owner of my farm left many of his items behind for several months after I moved in. He was nice about it at least. I’m sure he had run out of places to move his tools, supplies and equipment. When he did finally come for his stuff and the farm was all mine to organize, I started moving and unearthing piles and messes. Having things “dress right, dress” drilled into me from the Army, I had no problem getting after it and sorting out what I could use and couldn’t.

Without even knowing it, 2015 was off in the right direction. I ended that summer with a clean shed, a place for the laying hens, an organized pile of wood and other trash ready to be converted into treasure. In addition, I had processed the first 50 pastured birds and brought home 7 cows that have grown into 17. Starting is the most difficult part in an endeavor.
I like to work towards making everything more efficient. A wasted step is wasted time and energy. Keeping to the regiment of the 5 S’s will continue to save steps and keep the farmers here on the same page. Rarely is someone looking for a shovel or cart. That’s because items are put back where they belong at the end of the day. This will be especialy important as new farmers work with The G Farm Crew.

Going forward I will be especially critical of equipment space. For example, today I was looking for my favorite Rogue Hoe and it took me longer than it should have to find it. I surely will be sorting and moving some of the old tools into their own space. I would have a hard time getting ride of them entirely because I reuse and repurpose equipment when I can. I think that’s part of keeping a low budget. Why buy new lumber when I can take apart some old pallets to make a “new” rabbit hutch.

Whatever your dream is, I hope you follow it. I haven’t regretted the drastic changes I’ve made to my life one bit. Moving out of an office onto the land has been a fun, rewarding and healthy move. Thank you for following along with me as we build an abundant healthy agricultural community.

Farmer Justin

July 7, 2017
Gift of Gab.
I love this farm and how it’s evolving. And if you call me about it, I may just talk your ear off.

The simple question.
This past weekend I received a phone call from a lady who asked me a simple question, “Do you have any farm to table dinners on the farm lined up?”

My not so simple reply was that I have been working on one for this year but haven’t gotten things ironed out yet. She then asked how to stay informed about a future event.

I then went on to tell her about the weekly email and how it would be the best way to stay informed about events and other farm content. And I didn’t stop there! I went on to talk about the difficulties in having an on the farm dinner while staying square with regulations. I’m not sure what else I told her but I do remember she didn’t care. She just wanted to come to the farm for a dinner. She ended up hanging up on me. There wasn’t even time for her to get in a simple well thanks, I’ll let you go. She just straight up dropped the call.

I was a little offended at first. I’m not a telemarketer or some political survey. She called me in the first place.

If this were to happen to me again, and it will, I will be more cognizant of the question and get more to the point. I love this farm and if you give me a question, be prepared, I may just tell you how the wheel was made!

I can just picture myself up on a stage while several comedians are poking fun at some of my idiosyncrasies. There would be as much sweet dripping from my forehead as when I’m baling hay.

Maybe sometime this summer or next the farm will host an event on the farm featuring a chef who cooks exclusively farm fresh food for us all to enjoy. I hope you stick around through the rest of my stories in these emails to find out more about how and when you can join in the feast.

Thanks for supporting local farmers like me,
Farmer Justin