“If you take care of the land, it will take care of you,” spoken to Charles Graver by his grandfather in the 1950s. The commitment to good conservation practices was started at the Graver’s decades before it became the buzz word.
In Harrisburg on Friday, January 8, 2016 at the annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Angus Association the award for Stewardship Farm of the Year was given to Graver Farmstead, Bath, PA. The award is presented to a farm that follows good conservation practices.
Conservation at Graver Farmstead was underway many years ago. At the end of the 1940s, the Gravers had put in one of the first contour farming strips in Northampton County. Today, you will see many conservation practices in place. Another one of the firsts was no-till planting. This is when you do not disturb the ground but make a small groove and place the seed in the groove and cover it. The organic matter thrives with this practice. We still do no-till planting for our grass fields, both pasture and hay.
In the last 10 years, we have created stream bed buffers and fenced our beef animals out of the pond to protect the water. We created a spring development to provide water to the herd without them going into the pond. You can see the many grass swales we have in place to protect the land from storm water run-off. We use rotational grazing for our beef herd. This management strategy is used to maximize forage growth and encourage desirable plants and plant parts while allowing the pastures a rest period. Water lines bring water to our pastures for the herd.
Our nutra-management plans continue to provide guidance for the use of nutrients on the farm. We practice the 4Rs of Nutrient Stewardship – Economically, Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Crop Nutrition. The 4Rs promote best management practices to achieve cropping system goals while minimizing field nutrient loss and maximizing crop uptake. The latest has been a manure management storage building to continue implementing good practices.
We are always reading and looking for new conservation information. Just of few of the organizations we use are: NRCS (National Resource Conservation Service), Penn State Extension Service and others.
The current generation, of Graver Farmstead farmers, is already working with the next generation of farmers to understand and continue this commitment as part of our legacy!
Thank you to the Pennsylvania Angus Association for this treasured award.
Welcome to 2014 on the farm. Just to let you know I am T-I-R-E-D of winter!
PA Farm Show 2014
I was at the 2014 PA Farmshow from Friday to Tuesday with my two grandsons. We go every year and have a great time. Derek came in second place in the Potato judging competition. We also go to the Farmshow to help our friends at Just Enuff Angus. Jamie Brozman shows her Angus cattle at the Farmshow.
This year it was bitter cold, the coldest I have ever been. The cattle are housed in the cow barn at the complex. The cattle are more comfortable being outside and are not used to the heat, so the barn is barely heated. The cattle are taken to the tie-outs outside at the end of every day. The tie-outs are bedded heavily with straw and hay is put in the front for them to eat during the night. The cattle sleep out there and in the morning, (early early) they are brought into the cow barn and given a bath, then they are blown dry. On show morning, at 3 am, they are brought in and washed down then blown dry. At that point they are put in a grooming chute and are brushed and clipped and sprayed. It’s called “fitting”.
This year Jamie was interviewed by the Harrisburg TV. Her family is a 4 generation show family. At the show this year, was her mother (who helps groom and prepares them for the show), Jamie (who also grooms and prepares them, but also takes them into the show ring) and the newest member of the family is Jamie’s son, Ethan. He is just a year old, but is already part of the team. He had two animals in the show ring. It was several long cold days, then snow and then ice and then rain. I think we had it all.
Food, it’s always about food, here on the farm. I just put my plan together for this year’s produce. I plan on putting greens, peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers in the tunnel. Hopefully, my timing will be correct. The rest of the produce will be grown out in my market garden in the back field. I am expecting to have carrots, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, and many others. I will continue to use organic approved pesticides and herbicides on my vegetables. Visit my produce stand here on the farm when it opens in the spring or visit me at the farm markets.
The beef is going to be harvested starting in February. The butcher’s schedule was really backed up. The harvest will be done at Springfield Meats. It is a USDA inspected plant and this is where we take our meat for retail sales. We will be starting to call everyone to prepare for the harvest. Email me at email@example.com if you are interested.
BTW: I still have beef and pork for sale at the farm. I also have Deep Roots Valley Farm Organic chicken in the freezer for sale. Just give us a call and arrange a time to come to the farm and pick up some really great beef.
We have some sows in the barn to be delivering piglets at the end of February and early March. Stay tuned and I’ll let you know how it goes.
Looking for Spring! Bring it on. How about you?
Spring is coming, spring is coming!
I am getting ready to take orders for our spring pork harvest. If you are already on our reservation list, I will be calling in the next week or so. If you are not on the list and are interested send me an email with your name, address and phone. If you wish to verify that you are on the list, email me!
It's all about the list. ;)
The new farmstand is in place. It's just a combination of leftover siding that was being stored in many nooks and crannys. Thanks to our friend, Dave, it looks great. Stop by and check it out
I will have vegetables in it as long as the season lasts.
By the way, I am working on farm hours for the sale of meats this winter. Not sure what they will be. Any suggestions are welcome.
Jan and Charlie
Is going really well.
If you ate burgers at the Pearly Baker Restaurant in Easton, PA last week, you ate beef from Graver Farmstead. I was just waiting for the message from the head chef to find out what he thought. Then <pa-ding>. The text message read " Had some of your ground beef and it was wonderful". Yea!!!!!
I even have a customer that comes from Brooklyn. Yes, that is Brooklyn in the state of New York. And just aquired another Brooklynite that was here visiting her sister and bought steaks at the Bath Farmer's Market. I always tell everyone to e-mail me their experience eating my beef. She just emailed that the steaks were fantastic. She said she will be back.
On another note - I read an article that was titled “Cow Pool” And of course, it caught my eye! It was discussing how consumers are purchasing beef in today’s market.
That would be the consumer who really wants to purchase local beef and doesn’t have room for it! Does that sound like you? The cow pool is the answer. A group of consumers get together and purchase the beef then split is among the group. I have two cow pool groups already.
Hee Hee Lovin’ it!
Aww! What happened?
A question for you. How was your April Fools Day, as in April 1st, 2011?
Well, here on the farm we had some white stuff. I looked around and took pictures of white and a color. Here's what I found.
White and Brown
And then more White and Brown
But then White and Red
Another White and Red
Easily... White and Blue
Then finally White and Black.
White and Gold
But then I found it. White and Green
Have a great week!
During the winter, we farmers spend time networking with other farmers, getting our educational credits up-to-date and taking seminars. This is our downtime.
I just went to the Northwest PA Grazing Conference in Dubois, PA. What a ride! I went with 3 other friends (all women). We left the guys at home in charge of the farms. The boys did a fine job, so now we girls think we should take more girl trips. I guess we'll see.
The conference focused on grazing techiniques and experiences of experts and other farmers. This year Dr.Temple Grandin presented on the topics of animal handling and welfare. She is a fantastic speaker, very down to earth and has such insight on our animals. I could listen to her again and again. Check her out on the internet. She has a facinating story. HBO did a movie on her called "Temple Grandin".
She talks about how our cow herds should have manners and how to make them have manners. When they get pushy you have to walk away. It takes time to learn to work with them. Cows have a balance of fear and curiosity. In other words they have fear and it drives them, but are also curious. On Youtube she has a video where she goes into the center of a cow pen and lays on the ground. The young cows all try to check her out. So although they are fearful at first, they are so curious that they have to get close and figure out what she is. I know when I sit at the edge of the pasture my young cows will come to see what I am doing. Never realized why!
She showed slides where there were problems moving cattle. The cattle can stop moving because of shadows, string or paper laying on the ground, chains hanging, bad lighting and on and on. The list is long. She told us to get on our knees and see what our cattle see.
So, if you visit our farm and see me on my knees in the pen... That's what I am doing, getting the cattle point of view.
It's been winter a long time. At some point, you have to give up and enjoy!
I can say that cause "Winter is Over". The ground hog told me!
Here's some enjoyable moments from the farm.
Really Pretty! Don't you think?
Then the reality of it!
Here they are watching dinner arrive...
Have a Great Day!