Raising The Bar: How Our Family Is Voluntarily Taking Organic Farming To The Next Level!
Mark Twain is quoted as having made the following statement: “Always do right – this will gratify some and astonish the rest.”
Those words could have been written today about the way we have chosen to establish and operate our farm. We know that we could do far less and still meet the current standards for organic farming. In fact, when we purchased our farm, the land and crops were already Certified Organic by Quality Certification Services (QCS), as well as being fully compliant with the USDA’s National Organic Program.
But, not everyone’s definition of organic is the same and we refused to settle for standards that were lower than ours, even if they were official. When the health of our kids and our customer’s kids depend on the food we grow, settling for less isn’t even close to being good enough. On this farm, since day one, we remain driven to be the ones who do more than just what is required.
Healthy Jersey cows from our family to yours.
Healthy Food, Healthy Families
When we began our farm, our number one goal was to grow nourishing, healthful food for our family and perhaps some for others, too. We knew that genetically modified, chemically treated foods were neither healthy, nor sustainable. We also knew that many would not share our concern for doing things the right way, and instead might choose the perfectly developed produce and heavily grained beef that might have the desired label, yet fail to be truly organic.
What Is Officially Organic In Ohio?
The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, or OEFFA, currently enrolls farms from Ohio, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The certification process is very simple, consisting of only five basic steps: application, initial review, on-site inspection, another review and a certification review. Successfully completing these steps results in becoming certified as an organic farm. Verification of much of the information is difficult, or sometimes impossible.
Many of the requirements of becoming certified as an organic farm are problematic. For instance, land use records rarely document activity on a particular parcel for more than the prior three years, even though many chemicals can effect soil, vegetation and ground water for far longer periods.
In addition, structures and improvements on these properties often contain substances known to be unsafe, such as the creosote preservative commonly used on treated lumber and fence posts. Formaldehydes, lead based paints and traces of other chemicals might well be found on many farms that are approved for acceptance into the certification program.
A Different Opinion
In an effort to provide full disclosure, we want to say that we are not currently certified in the state of Ohio as an organic farm. Yet, even without official recognition, we still choose to farm in a truly organic fashion. In fact, we have built every bit of our farm to reflect a true and verifiable organic farming culture, free of chemicals, preservatives, antibiotics, hormones and other harmful, but widely accepted substances used in farming today.
Yellow Locust wood is all we use for fence posts on our property.
Our fence posts provide an excellent example of just how far we are willing to go to ensure that the food we grow is as natural and healthful as that grown wild, by nature, herself. When we began the process of turning a piece or raw, pure land into our farm, we had to build it from the ground up. Our fence posts are not pressure treated with chemicals to help them last, instead we chose to use one of nature’s longest lasting woods: yellow locust. Our barn has no treated woods or lead based paints. Instead, we built it with natural materials and expensive concrete posts that will not leach creosote into the soil.
Why Do We Do What We Do?
It is simple really. We feel that every bit of creosote, chemical herbicide or pesticide that comes into contact with the soil or water on a farm can make its way into drinking water, soil and grass. The animals consume the poisoned grass and water, absorbing those chemicals into their tissues, which will later be consumed by people.
While some organic farmers may be okay with that, we are not. We don’t want our kids, or yours, to eat a hamburger or drink the milk of an animal that has been contaminated in this fashion, and we do not think you will, either. If you have questions about how we do things here on our family cow farm, we would love to speak with you and show you the stunning vibrancy and healthfulness that is part of farming when you exceed the minimum levels of organic farming and shoot for the stars!