Williams Valley Family Farm
Thank you for your interest in our family project!
By way of introduction, my wife Susan and myself (Dwayne) have six children,3 boys and 3 girls. I have always lived on a farm. Having grown up on a commercial dairy and moving on to other ventures my experience has also included growing vegetables, hay, some row crops, as well as commercial fertile egg production for hatching broilers and raising grass-fed beef.
As I look over this list of involvements and reflect on the course commercial agriculture production has taken I am saddened by the seeming ever lower quality of food supply we have produced and is available in our supper markets today as a whole. I do not mean to sling mud here because as I was, many still are, sincere in what they do. And it is done with the intent of supplying the ever growing population with CHEAP food or possibly, affordable food, is the more correct terminology. But here is the irony of the situation- we get what we pay for! Cheap food is simply that- cheap food.
This has put a vicious cycle in affect. Get bigger. Get more efficient. Farm more land. Farm more animals in concentrated confinement facilities. (Our chicken operation had 30,000 breeders on one farm which is considered small in many respects!) To do this many chemicals are incorporated into crop production as well as antibiotics into animal husbandry. Not to mention GMO's in grain production to enable more 'efficient' food production. When we lived in Paraguay, at times a single crop of Round-up Ready soybeans (think GMO) was sprayed with an assortment of chemicals up to 6-7 times per crop to achieve what we called optimal production!
While all of this is done in the name of increased volume of production. At the same time, it brings with it health hazards to the animals, producers themselves, the environment, as well as the end consumer of the food chain.
Is this kind of production profitable? It can be, and in fact there are many wealthy large scale farming operations. But at the same time I can't help but think of the farmer who committed suicide because of the stress that accompanies such large operations , especially when the market turns sour or the rain doesn't come at the appropriate time. You see, these mega operations are ran on such thin margins that every thing has to click or the target of profitability soon fades to mega losses.
Is it sustainable? A totally different subject! From the ever increasing need for commercial nitrogen in the soil to the ever rising need for another quick fix for the weeds or insects that are gaining resistance to certain chemicals, it appears that a train wreck is inevitable.
I could go on and on about the nuances yea even the atrocities of what I call “Commercialized Industrialized Agriculture” but I think you get the point.
So getting to the point... What can you do to ensure a healthy food supply for your family?
#1 Know your farmer = Know your food. Buy local where you can.
#2 Ask questions. What are your production practices?
#3 Remember home grown is always best. Hint- Grow a garden.
#4 Remember you get what you pay for. As a rule if it is cheap, IT 'IS' CHEAP!
Our slogan is “Local Food For Local People!”
And that is the way we want it. We believe a relationship between the farmer and the consumer will build in a sense of accountability that is missing in the commercialized industrialized model. We are not saying we are perfect, but, we are saying that what we say is true, and if you have questions we are here to discuss them.
I believe transparency trumps certification by a third party from the other side of the continent. This is one of the reasons we are not certified organic. (there are many commercialized 'organic' farms out there that if the public would realize what their production protocols are, would not meet the customers impressions of what 'Certified Organic' means. (This is not to say certification is bad. I'm only saying it is not everything.)Another reason is cost. I hope that as we can learn to know you, our customer, and you learn to know us, your farmer, that we can meat your expectations without incurring that extra expense.
As a family we are interested in whole raw milk for the health benefits which we believe are huge. To reach its fullest potential, milk should come from grass-fed cows on a GMO free diet without the use of hormones or antibiotics as crutches.
This is a tall order but one we believe is attainable. One of my old friends coined this saying in relation to what we need to do in the cattle industry. He said,”What we need to do is so old it is new again.” He simply meant that we need to go back to breeding and feeding cows like our great-grandfathers did. And if we do this, we will be able to enjoy much of the other benefits that they also enjoyed, including a more natural, healthy diet.
We are planning to make the center piece of Williams Valley Family Farm LLC, Grade A Whole Raw Milk. We hope to add other products in the future. Possibly including pastured eggs, as well as beef etc. We don't know where all God will lead us but we would like to be able to offer high quality local food to neighbors and friends about us who may not have the experience, infrastructure, or the time to grow their own.
Dwayne @ Williams Valley Family Farm LLC