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Sugar for a Penny

By John Hogeland


We have beef to sell and we hope you may be interested, but first, I have a story to tell you.


Yesterday, I went out to the pasture to check my yearlings (our cattle teenagers) much as I do every day. But on this day I found a problem awaited me: the boisterous youths (read 'little bastards') had tipped over their water tank and stood looking at me with innocent eyes. Not one of them would have admitted having anything to do with it, only mildly explaining that clearly, the situation was untenable and needed to be set to rights, and that I (having thumbs) was the one obviously up to the task. And so I did, working in the hot sun so that my animals could have a cool drink.


cow drinking from water tub
Cattle drinking from the solar-powered waterer

While I was working, a phrase ran through my mind with ringing clarity: "That's a lot of sugar for a penny." My dad said it to me toward the end of my first summer of grass-finishing my own beef. By it, he meant that I was doing a lot of work for little return. And from a certain perspective, it was true. I was, and still am, moving cattle on a daily basis. Which means I also have to move their water tank, solar water pump and salt and mineral feeder at least once every three or four days - and that's if I was am smart in my placement of them in the first place. By comparison, my dad used to move cattle every three or four weeks - a whole lot less work, to be sure. And he certainly never needed to move a solar water tank and pump. So, why do I do all this extra work, when I could just leave the cattle in one spot for weeks at a time with permanent watering spots for them to use, without any extra labor on my part? The answer to that question became very clear by the end of my second year of rotational grazing. We came into a dry spell in the middle of July and by the end of August, my friends and neighbors who managed their cattle much the way my father had were beginning to feed their cattle hay--their grass was gone. But because I rotationally grazed my cattle, giving each section of land plenty of time to recuperate after a short visit, I had plenty of grass. Scads of it, in fact, as my mom liked to say. (Not sure what a scad is, other than a lot, but it always made me smile). By the time I started feeding hay, it was mid January, leaving me with fat cows and unneeded hay I sold for a pretty penny (my, how much sugar it bought!). All this is to say that what we do here at Whippoorwill Creek Farm is in service of sustainability. It requires more work, but the farm pays us back in ways that are only now--in our fifth year-- starting to be apparent. The health of our soil, our cattle, our grasses and forbs (flowering plants) are clearly improving and the system itself is beginning to run as nature meant it to.


And perhaps most importantly, we are working to ensure sure Iowa's land is healthy for our--and your--great-great-great grandkids.


So, can I take your order?

 

Whippoorwill Creek Farm now has beef-bundles to sell, in addition to 1/4, 1/2 and whole beef. Bundles can be delivered in Des Monies (or via our route through Knoxville), or picked up at the farm (outside of Lovilia). Come down and have a farm-tour, go fishing or take a walk, or contact us to spend the night when our barn-house is done (we hope by mid-August)!


Our 10 pound bundle is $150 and includes:

  • 5 pounds ground beef

  • a 2-3 pound roast or stew meat

  • 2-3 pounds of steaks

  • 1 package beef bones or offal (heart, tongue, liver)

Our 25 pound bundle is $325 and includes:

  • 10 pounds of ground beef

  • three, 3 pound roasts or stew meat

  • 9 pounds of steak

  • 2 packages of beef bones

  • offal if desired (heart, tongue, liver and / or tallow)

Ground beef bundle:

  • 10 pounds for $90

  • 30 pounds for $240

Dog goodie bundle $40:

  • Two packages beef bones (about 8 bones total)

  • Two packages ground beef

  • Beef liver

Email us at whippoorwillcreekfarmiowa@gmail.com to order a bundle,

1/4, 1/2 or whole beef.

or call John at 641-891-4950


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