April 5, 2017

Spring 2017

Tonight is a reminder of how time flies and things change. The last article I wrote for this blog was back in the fall of 2013. Shortly after that I switched to a paid for website. I kept it until last summer, when I decided that it was no more effective than this blog. I shut it down with the intentions of revitalizing this page....then the house remodel started. As I type this, kitchen cabinets are going in.....but that is a topic for another post.

We are starting into our fourth year having a greenhouse on the farm here at LGI. It has been tremendously successful, and I truly look forward to this spring. We have a semi registered cattle herd consisting of 16 cows and a borrowed bull. We have expanded our sheep operation to 14 ewes and a couple of rams. We sold a record number of 12 top hogs back in January. It has been a fun ride in the last few years. 

As I type this, I have already thought of several posts for the next few weeks. They will be greenhouse updates, farm updates, and maybe just a few random thoughts and ideas. Stay Tuned!

September 15, 2013

Here Comes Fall; Goodbye Summer!

What a summer! It has been a busy one here at LGI Farms! Things are going great. I was in downtown Calgary, Canada a few weeks ago and I had a world agriculture business leader look at me and say: "I would trade you all my money, land, and assets to be twenty years old and entering the field of agriculture right now." I truly believe this. There is a bright future ahead for agriculture and I am excited to see what it holds!

In the last three months we built a high tunnel, finished a building, hosted a soil judging clinic, added 6 acres of corn, 5 pigs, 10 sheep, 200 mums, culled our cattle herd hard, spent a weekend with farm bureau, and I went to Canada for a week! All of this on top of the general farm chores and Amanda swapping jobs!

One of the biggest projects we just completed is a High Tunnel in which we will grow vegetables out of season. We just planted 250 tomato plants in it, and hope to have tomatoes in November and December. We also have cabbage, cauliflower, and lettuce in it. Look for a detailed write up on it in the future.

Amanda is currently growing about 120 mums. They are doing pretty good, but it has been an awful year for growing mums due to the cool cloudy weather. We have also been battling groundhogs(who knew??).

We added 5 pigs, and are looking at getting more. We will be selling whole and half shares of pork either delivered to the local slaughter house or delivered to you. If you are interested in purchasing one give us a call.

There are thousands of other things that we did, and I will let you know about them as time goes on. Days are getting shorter, which means more chances for us to write. People ask when the best time to catch us is, and my standard reply is: "After Dark!"

Here at LGI Farms, we believe diversity is the key(as you can tell). We have a lot of interesting things going on. Stop in and say hello sometime. We would love to show you around and answer any questions you may have.

June 9, 2013

Well, It Has Been A While

We have committed the ultimate blogging sin: A long absence without a post. It is spring, which is the busiest time of the year here at the farm. Most of our days begin at daylight and end at dark. This, combined with the menial everyday tasks, leaves little times for extra activities. however, this is not an excuse. They say that true leaders recognizes their weak points and confronts them. They improvise, adapt, and overcome. This is our weak point. We will do a better job advocating for agriculture through our blog.

One of our goals in this blog is to advocate for agriculture. Agriculture is our passion and way of life, and we strive every day to promote its positive image. Even though we have been absent blogging, we have still been advocating for agriculture. This blog is a great tool to advocate with, but we still prefer talking to someone in person.

We have some exciting new projects going on here on the farm. Amanda is getting everything setup to raise mums to sell this fall. I decided to plant six acres of corn, which is something entirely new for me. We are working on completely redoing the genetics in our cattle herd. We will begin building a high tunnel in the next month, with the goal being to produce tomatoes in November and December. 

We are looking every day for new ideas to add to the farm. One thought we have had was to do some short educational seminars on the farm. They could range from tomato production to a simple tour of the farm. If you are interested let us know.

One of the best things that we have discovered this year is the direction we want to take our farm in. In the future we will get an in depth post up about it.It is something new and different, and I think it will be part of the direction the future of agriculture is taking.

As always, if you have any questions feel free to ask. Thanks for Reading!

April 28, 2013

Busy Spring 2013

Things are going well here on LGI Farms. We are having a slow start to spring this year. Some late rains and cold weather have pushed things back a couple weeks. Like most farms, springtime is one of the busiest times of the year here.

We started our fencing project last week. New fences and waterers will be installed to help implement a rotational grazing plan. We decided to go with a high tensile electrified wire because it allows for the flexibility of adding temporary fence to create more paddocks. My goal by this fall is to have my livestock on a three day rotation schedule. This will increase my efficiency by about 30%.

I recently invested in some temporary fencing and am slowly creating a rotational grazing system with what we currently have. I also got some permanent fencing done and got our goats and sheep on pasture.

We are working on the possibility of putting a retail store in at the farm this fall. We would sell freezer meat, vegetables, plants, etc that has been produced on our farm. We are also working on putting together an order sheet for halves and quarters of beef and pork for this fall.If you are interested in either of these let me know. I am also looking for some feedback on selling freezer beef and pork by the package. Would there be any interest if my prices were competitive?

Look for more posts in the future. We are busy right now, but we will still try to get some good articles up!

April 22, 2013

Saving Agriculture Essay

This is the essay that I wrote for my application to the Youth Ag Summit. Enjoy!

Saving Agriculture

I am a beginning farmer located in Middle Tennessee. I have spent the last eight years actively involved in and studying agriculture, farming, and feeding the world. I am just now beginning the journey of starting my own farm, which I have spent the last several years preparing for. I understand my role in the food chain, and that role is to provide the food that helps feed the world. By 2050, the world’s population will have reached 9 billion people, and the job of providing food for all those people will fall squarely on the shoulders of us, the farmers. The question is, how will we do it? American agriculture is currently in turmoil. Farming is split into two groups, and they are going to have to unite and find a common ground to utilize new technologies, practices, and resources in order to feed our growing population.

            Organic. Grass-Fed. Industrial. Factory Farms. Local Food. Farmers Markets. 155 People. Natural. Whole. Precision Ag. No-Till. These are just a few of the buzz words that identify some of what is going on with agriculture in America. There are two distinct groups: The first is the large-scale farmers who strive to produce food in the most efficient and economical way possible. The second is the local, organic-based movement whose goal is to produce a higher quality product using more natural, organic practices. For some reason there is a very distinct rift between these two groups, which is leading to both sides fighting over who is right and which is wrong. Both sides have good and bad. 

            The biggest challenge facing large scale industrialized agriculture is the exponentially rising cost of energy. It affects them in nearly every way imaginable from production costs to equipment costs to storage costs to transportation costs. It could very well soon not be feasible to operate heavy equipment, store crops for long periods of time, or haul crops across the nation and world. However, these operations are very productive. They keep raising the bar in production yields every year. They are cranking out huge production quantities per acre. This is a big deal when you consider the rising number of people and the declining amount of farm land.

            The local, organic based food movement is becoming bigger news every day. It is in its own way a resurgence of the traditional small family farm. These producers are striving to produce a sustainable operation using very little energy and infrastructure. They are trying to produce a safer, healthier, higher quality product. There are all types of production practices implemented from high tunnels to deep mulching to rotational grazing that help them produce their crops. While these practices are sustainable and sorely needed, the production levels are low for these operations. It would not be feasible to depend upon small operations like these to feed the coming 9 billion people.

            Along with these issues, America is coming out of a recession, and people are having to spend a higher percentage of their smaller income on food. America is very blessed to have the lowest percentage of income spent on food in the world, but we could do better. There are still people who are hungry every day. There are kids who only get a quality meal when they are in school. There are families who cannot afford to buy healthier food when McDonalds has a dollar menu. This, along with general changes in society has lead to an obesity epidemic. Farmers receive a lot of the blame, and while not all of it is theirs, they do share part of it. It is our product, and we should do a better job representing and marketing it.

            The image of the farmer in the United States has become somewhat tainted. The average person is generations removed from the farm, and their idea of a farmer is someone who mistreats his land, animals, and families, and cannot be trusted with producing the food the world eats. This is a harsh image, but we the farmers are the only ones to blame. We are the ones who let our image become this without standing up for ourselves. The average age of the farmer is getting older, and there are fewer youth who are stepping into the role of feeding the world. It is going to be our responsibility to reverse that image.

            While this is what is going on in the United States, I know that there are huge problems with food availability in the rest of the world. The rest of the world is in financial turmoil just like the United States. There are countries where people are spending three quarters of their income on food, and are having an extremely hard time finding enough food to keep their families from going hungry. Some places simply cannot feasibly produce enough food with the current practices, and in others governments prohibit using advanced technology to increase production. There are starving people everywhere from the superpowers like the United States to the third world countries.

            Feeding the coming 9 billion people is going to be a huge problem and responsibility. I personally will be responsible for it, along with the rest of my farming community spread across the world. In order to feed the world, I have to start by feeding my community. My farm will start small, but it will grow. There is coming a new way in which we will produce, process, sell, and buy food. I intend to be at the forefront of that movement. There is a middle ground between the two main groups in the United States in which true food sustainability will be found. The combination of the best practices of each, along with new ones will result in producers being able to economically, safely, and morally produce the food required to feed our population.

            It will also take the people of the world to get behind and support us, the farmer. We will need everyone’s help in order to do our jobs. We will need a huge, dependable, skilled labor supply. We will need the land base and resources in which to produce. We will need the research to find the new practices to use to produce more food safely. We need the freedom to produce our product. It is going to be a world-wide effort that will involve every man, woman, and child on this planet is one way or another.

            I have attended many gatherings and conferences involving agriculture, and leap at the opportunity to attend more. There are many people out there who are more knowledgeable about different things than I, and the only way I will learn is to meet and talk with them. However, I have never attended a conference with people from all over the world, and I cannot imagine what I will learn, or what I will have an opportunity to share. The 120 people who will be at this summit will be at the forefront of feeding the world. We will all learn new things and meet new people, and we will be able to share our stories with each other. The youth is dwindling in agriculture, which means that we must become tighter-knit and support each other. Alone, I cannot feed the world, but if we stand together, know where we stand, and rise up to meet this challenge, We Will Surely Be Successful!

April 14, 2013

Busy Times

Sorry it has been so long since the last post. The last two weeks have been crazy busy for us here. Last week we had the Clay County Soil Conservation District Tree Sale. We had an excellent year. We enjoyed some beautiful weather and sold very well this year. This week we had the Envirothon and the Soil Conservation District Field Day.

The Envirothon was excellent this year. Due to everyone's busy schedule the Clay County High School team did not get to practice as much as we would have liked, but they still placed 4th. They were only on point away from third!I am very proud of our team this year. They had some very hard questions.

Friday the Clay County Soil Conservation District had an awesome field day. The focus was on grazing cattle. We had some excellent presentations on Cattle Health, Body Condition Scores, Creep Grazing Annuals, Fescue Establishment, and Drill Depth. We had a good turnout, and I think everyone enjoyed it and learned some new things.

Now for an update on LGI Farms. As usual things have been busy. Yesterday our first hive of bees arrived! They were package bees from Georgia. It was definetly an interesting experience to haul around 18,000 bees in your vehicle.

These are the first bees I have really fooled with, and getting to put them in the hive was an awesome experience. Bees truly are amazing creatures. The more I learn end experience about them, the more I like them. I believe they are an addition on our farm that will remain.

Last week we sold some cull cows and a calf. I kept a large steer to slaughter this fall. If everything goes right I will have home grown freezer beef for sale, along with pork and chicken.

Today we got our sheep and goats back on pasture. They were glad to see the green grass. On a side note we added a new Great Pyrenees puppy to our herd. It is a female about 9 weeks old. These are truly amazing dogs. I would not take anything for the two I have. Look for pups for sale in the future!

Today I swapped my Angus bull out for a Hereford. I am looking to get some hybrid vigor in my calves.

This is a brief rundown of everything new in the last two weeks. I am working on some more posts, but due to a busy spring they could be delayed. Feel free to ask any questions as they are easy to respond to. Let's keep the conversation rolling!

April 3, 2013

2013 Tennessee Ag Enhancement Program Booklet Availible


This is the 2013 Tennessee Ag Enhancement Program Booklet. It is a great resource for farmers across Tennessee. It helps farmers improve their farms and utilize resources with ways that farmers could not otherwise obtain. As a whole, this program has helped improve Tennessee's Cattle Herds, improve crop efficiencies, and help diversify agriculture across the state, and create jobs and industry across Tennessee.