The Sustainable Farming Association (SFA) will host a free Methods of Pastured Pork and Poultry Production Field Day on Saturday, August 21, 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., in Spring Grove and Caledonia, Minnesota.
Attendees will visit two farms raising pastured pork and poultry in a couple of different ways. These methods of production are often overlooked in soil health programming and education, and can provide opportunity for a variety of farmers in a variety of land contexts.
The first stop will be Nettle Valley Farm in Spring Grove. SFA host Jared Luhman, Soil Health Lead, will give an overview of the soil health principles and supporting resources offered by Soil Water Conservation Districts and National Resource Conservation Service.
The group will then tour Nettle Valley Farm with farmers Dayna Burtness and Nick Nguyen, featuring a pastured pork wagon wheel hub model and pastured meat chickens and turkeys.
After lunch, the field day continues at Wholesome Family Farms in Caledonia, Minnesota. Jordan and Rachelle Meyer will demonstrate their mobile pastured pork setup and pastured laying hens. The Meyers also raise grass-finished beef, goats, and other poultry.
“Farmers marketing grass-finished beef, for example, may find benefit in adding other pastured livestock to their operation because they already have a customer base that’s interested in pasture-raised meat. This could allow you to start additional enterprises without adding additional marketing costs,” explains Luhman. Some pasture production models can be adapted to small amounts of land—an advantage when land access is a common challenge farmers face.
Fruit and vegetable growers may also be interested in attending. Pastured pork and poultry can be a viable method for produce growers to add the fifth principle of soil health, “Integrating Livestock,” into their soil health practices.
Both farms use also direct marketing, and will discuss their approach during the tours. Burtness and the Meyers were featured in a webinar with Craig Fischer hosted by SFA that further details direct marketing and building profitable farm businesses. That recording is available on the SFA YouTube channel.
All are welcome to attend this free field day, which includes a meal. Registration is encouraged for planning purposes and to ensure a lunch. Walkups are also welcome. Register for the field day online. More soil health resources and events can be found on the SFA website.
Field Day farms:
Nettle Valley Farm, 23970 County Rd 19, Spring Grove, MN 55974
Wholesome Family Farms, 18769 Eagle Heights Rd, Caledonia 55921