This week I had the pleasure of speaking with Brian Coleman of Coleman Farms. Brian and his family supply grass-fed animal products all over the Missouri area and have supplied Take Root with beef for quite some time.
Coleman Farms' mission is to: "Provide quality, locally raised, grass-fed meats and eggs to customers, humanely produce healthy livestock, and implement sustainable strategies to be excellent stewards of land and livestock."
To uphold this sustainable model, Brain arranges rotational grazing. I had never heard of this, so I'm going to explain it out a little...
Cattle graze small sections of pastures of land every day, and they get moved to different areas throughout the day, giving each pasture a rest period. This allows the grass to regrow fully. Moving the cows multiple times a day helps the cows not only get more food but healthier food. Sections of pasture are separated by temporary fencing with plastic posts, which are moved to move the cattle. The rotations vary based on the seasons; for example, rotations are quicker in the spring because of the regrowth levels, but they slow in the summer. The cattle will typically graze for 11 months out of the year, so keeping the rotation going is vital for sustaining the healthiest options for their cattle.
But how did this fourth-generation farm get into sustainable farming?
In 1993, Brian's father got into an accident which caused him to search for ways to lessen his workload while maintaining his farm. He said, "I want the farm to work for me, rather than work for the farm." Then BOOM! The intensive grazing business started. Once pursuing this, the family noticed the grass-fed beef market was increasing and decided to branch out to other animals such as lamb and chickens; however, even with the new animals, some of his favorite times on the farm have been tagging the calves in the spring. Seeing those first signs of new life on the farm and bonding with their animals helps this farm keep thriving.
Speaking of thriving!
Some new up-and-coming changes are appearing on Coleman Farms. Projects include looking to get meal prep items for sale in the next couple of years and possibly adding pork within the next ten. In more family news, Brain's father is stepping back to allow Brian to take on a leadership role. Brian is also excited that his children are getting older, so he can offer them more teachable experiences on the farm, such as business skills, learning where food comes from, and how to utilize the farm's resources properly.
"We enjoy what we're doing, and we love the relationships that have come from our consumers in the Kirksville area. We just appreciate how supportive people are. We look forward to continue business and relationships for the next few years."