Do you envision old-fashioned chickens with normal size breasts that run around free-range along with cattle on green pastures?
How about poultry hatched and cattle born on the farm they are raised on, just like was done before 1950?
Do you think of animals who produce traditional quantities and can live a long productive life?
How about a small farm focused on feeding the region, not the world?
Do you think traditional, "normal", honest and authentic?
This is our vision for Old Time Farm.
To conserve and promote America's culturally diverse but endangered livestock and poultry breeds for future generations through education, sustainable breeding, and conservancy.
Like many of you, we noticed the increase in cancer, allergies, and autism in our friends and family. We wondered where our food came from, how it was grown, what it was fed, how it was treated. Did this have any impact our health? What did all those confusing labels mean? Who could pronounce all those words on the labels?
In 2010 we sold our business and bought a 113 acre farm in Mercer County, PA to have more space for our horses. Then ... I wanted some chickens and a "house cow" for our own milk ...
The cows I found locally were high production "modern" types. I discovered the old-fashioned traditional producing livestock breeds were still in existence but were in danger of extinction ... the research and adventure started!
While searching for that elusive cow I came to realize:
The idealized small diversified "family farm" is in danger of extinction while industrial monoculture farming is on the rise.
Livestock offering less than extreme production are endangered along with the soil biome, native plants and pollinators (not honeybees).
Animals are seldom raised from birth to harvest on the same farm, where immunity to the environment is passed from mother to offspring, in modern production. Instead, the young are taken to places where they have no generational immunity and, in the case of cattle, mixed with the young from other farms. This means antibiotics are necessary to keep them healthy.
Today's industrial farming is segmented, like work on a factory production line. Animals (plants and soil too) are expected to put out maximum production in the least amount of space, in the least amount of time, with the least amount of inputs - PERIOD.
Layers, who once were doing well when producing 150 eggs per year, have been highly bred to produce 300 eggs per year and that "cage-free" means broken bones for hens who have been bred for generations to live in confinement instead of freedom.
The chicken meat industry, once an efficient use of the extra males hatched with layers, now has birds who are ready to harvest at the tender age of 35 days when the historical harvest age would have been at least 16 weeks and that there are several genetic meat defects that industry is struggling to solve.
Cattle are now specifically bred to maximize beef production without a care to how well they produce milk for their calves or to maximize milk production without regard to whether they can calve without assistance.
The industrial answer to the problems created by excessive production is focusing more and more on genetic modification, which bypasses the natural time needed for selective breeding of production traits back to "normalcy".
To become part of the solution, we decided to put our 113 acre farm and life experiences to work. "Old Time" traditional heritage breeds of poultry, livestock and traditional agricultural methods were the perfect fit to create the idyllic farm and traditional products we were seeking.
Thanks for reading all this! You can learn more about what we are doing and other Moos by following us on social media or joining our email list in the links below!
PS ... I did find that cow. She is an American Milking Devon named "Latigo Rose of Higher View Farm", she is not a "dairy" cow by modern production expectations and no, I do NOT milk her!
Old Time Farm is a 113-acre farm in Mercer County, PA focused on the preservation of rare, endangered, heritage livestock and poultry.
You are our partner in these conservation efforts by providing a market for the meat and eggs produced by these endangered animals.