Our grand farm tour series continues! This time it takes us to Bean Hollow Grassfed at Over Jordan Farm. As you may guess from the name, this farm is more focused on grass fed livestock. But don’t think for a moment that they are just about fattening up animals to get them to market. They are highly focused on making sure that they take care of the land as well.
This farm was really cool to see, since only earlier that week I had listened to a podcast on intensive grazing and how it was better in the long run for the soil and then in return the animals. I was able to see it in action here at Bean Hollow Grassfed. They have quite a few critters, approx 175 ewes who it seemed all had lambs, a few goats and it seems that they had borrowed some cows. I had learned that each of these animals will eat the grasses differently, but one thing they pointed out is that all of their hooves end up having a different effect on the soil as they walk around.
The basic concept of intensive grazing is that the animals are kept in what would be considered a smaller field so they are forced to eat all the vegetation in that area. After a few days the whole group of them are moved on to a different area. The animal’s leavings are left to add nutrients back to the dirt and their hooves churn up the dirt some to help new plants grow. The system takes more management then turning all your animals loose in a large field, but it means healthier soil and plants. To the point that the folks over at Bean Hollow Grassfed like to say “we grow carbon, grass and meat”.
We also got to go up and see a few of the pigs they were raising. Overall it was a very impressive set up. As a note they had switched from wool sheep to hair sheep, wanting to focus more on raising for meat then for raising for fiber. They also sell the meat, if you are interested you can contact them or stop by Heritage Hollow’s Farm retail outlet in Sperryville, VA.