Farming and Agriculture
Farming is defined as an area of land and its buildings used for growing crops and rearing animals, usually managed by one person.
When we purchased this property, our dream was to have land to camp on and we wanted to raise beef cattle for our family. We thought we would fence the 12 acres that were already fields, then slowly work on clearing more if we needed to. We wanted to utilize the natural spring on the property for watering the cattle. It seemed like a pretty good plan, but as we started researching more, we realized there is a lot more to this than we know.
We decided to begin our “farm” project with a barn for storage. By the time we finished that, the spring, creek and pond had completely dried up. One day, we discovered survey flags along the border of our property. You can read about that here: https://sanctuary-ridge.com/2020/09/02/sanctuary-ridge-adventures-in-farming-making-room/. All our plans were accelerated in ways we never dreamed possible! Fast forward one year and here we are, concocting new plans for our farm.
A New Plan
So for the past 6 weeks, Jamey and I have attended a Master Beef Class hosted by the UT Extension in Athens. We are learning as much as we can about how to care for cattle. It has been fascinating! Professors and farmers coming together to study the best way to grow healthy animals. When it comes to cattle, its all about the quality of the grass, the genes passed down to the animal, and clean water. We plan to use every ounce of knowledge we have gained over the past few weeks as we move forward with a new plan for our farm.
I’ll be honest, I was so intimidated to go to this class. We don’t know ANYTHING about cattle. What we thought we knew completely changed by the end of the class. We learned so much in this class! The room was full of experienced farmers who shared their experiences. We ran into new friends and met new farmer friends that offered tours of their farm. Farmers are so friendly and willing to help one another- it was really encouraging! I believe we have a much better plan than before!
Our first step in the plan was to attend all the classes to solidify our plan. Next, we are harvesting some timber on our property to allow new tree growth and open more areas for growing hay. This will also allow us to begin our fencing. The ultimate plan is to be ready to purchase our first cattle sometime this winter/spring. Harvesting timber is scheduled to begin in September. Stay tuned for updates in the coming weeks!
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