We believe organic farming is two-fold: the animals and the soil; what we don’t put into it and what we do put into it.
Organic standards for the animals are all about the ethical treatment and care of them. It is to create a natural environment, not raising them indoors. It is to make sure that they are on soil and have natural habitats, like chickens dust bathing and perching. It is to prohibit anti-biotics, unless to save the life of the animal*. It is also to prohibit pesticides and hormones and create strict standards for their food. It is to feed them natural food: all of their food must be non-GMO, organic, and free from petroleum-based seed coatings, fertilizers, and herbicides.
Makes sense. Healthy animal food equals healthy animals, equals healthy human food supply and healthy consumers.
The other, and possibly the most important, is the soil. Soil is where the minerals come from to grow the healthy pastures for the animals to graze. The health of the soil is also the health of the whole ecosystem and water supply. That is why one of the standards in organic is to maintain or create diverse environments like woodlands, wetlands, and other natural habitats for wildlife and wild forage. Our land has over 100 acres of woodlands and natural forage, and we have 4 wetland areas teaming with diverse wildlife. Our pastures are designed to utilize the natural habitats and to protect them.
Healthy soil needs to be built as a result of over-grazing and conventional mono-plantings. But crop rotation and cover crops are only a small part of soil health and vitality. We have extensive soil testing done to find out the micronutrient, bacterial, and mycorrhizal activity as well**. These are where the nutrition comes from and it is also where the flavor comes from. Based on our soil tests, we purchase the missing or low nutrients or microbiology and spread them onto our fields. The result is better tasting and healthier beef, chicken, lamb, eggs, and produce.
*animals given antibiotics become organic ineligible
** soil building is scalable to home gardening without soil testing