Farming is not our main source of income at this time, but we plan to be self-sufficient by 2020. Our barns will all be up, our handling facility is top of the line and easy to use, our fencing is almost complete for rotational grazing. We have really had an education these few years learning that farming is very hard work, takes lots of planning, keeps you tied at home and is the most rewarding thing we have ever done.
But what is sustainability? Being able to continue year after year with this way of life we have come to value so highly. You can do it by financial planning to have enough income to support your Highland addiction, or you can realize that there are valuable resources all around you. You don’t have to do this alone!
We’ve learned that you can take two approaches to this task . . . Try to produce everything yourself and work till you are literally exhausted every day, OR become a part of your farming community and develop relationships with others in the area which allows you more time to enjoy what you love most. We started out trying to do it all. We have sold our baler and are buying quality, tested hay from a farmer that does only hay. He sold his cows so he would have more hay and we now have more pastures so we can have more cows!
Although we raise a few veggies, there is a nearby organic truck farm where we can buy all we can eat and can for about the same amount of money, time and effort it would require to get to the same end point. There is also a U-pick orchard just down the road so I didn’t have to panic when the goats ate the young apple trees.
We try to buy as much as possible in our local area when we need equipment or tools. Although it might save a little to buy at a big home supply store, we save the gas and the valuable time it takes to drive into town.
Time spent on the farm with the livestock pays a big dividend. Our gentle cows have outstanding genetic lines that will help others start their own Highland folds. We are here to help those who are newer to the breed than we are by doing our own research and sharing what we learn.
Education is the key to success in any field and farming is no exception.
We value highly the local extension agent and the classes he guides us through, but even more valuable are our neighbors who have farmed for years and the manager at the local Co-op. The knowledge they have shared has been invaluable.
Memberships in Highland organizations across the country have allowed us to meet many people who have encouraged us, given us advice, and allowed us to learn much about a cattle breed we’d never been exposed to before. Experience is still the best teacher though! Come and visit the farm, fall in love with the cattle and let us help you get started on an amazing Highland adventure.