Everything on the farm has a job. Most have more than one. Such is the case with these beans. They actually have three.
1. Add nitrogen to the soil, helping future crops to grow.
2. Produce nutritious pods for everyone to enjoy.
Exactly how do they accomplish point number three? Composting? Yes, but there is so much more to the story.
For us, the positive aspects of farming in this manner far outweigh the risks. Growing produce in this way enables us to offer the safest, most delicious foods to our customers while also providing highly nutritious food for the livestock.
Our animals overall health is improved by consuming our garden produce. Their digestive systems operate more efficiently by receiving natural enzymes and roughage from a diet they were created to utilize. Their level of nutrition is much higher. They require less supplemental feed, helping to control costs, while developing a stronger body and immune system. Fertility is vasty increased. And in the case of those intended for market, the quality of the end product is directly impacted by the animal's diet. Our hens are much healthier and lay more nutritious eggs for longer periods of time and our meat animals produce a superior meal at the dinner table.
Many do not consider the aftermath of the chemicals used in traditional, animal care. What happens to the various components of all those drugs after they are excreted? Where do they go?
There are trace amounts left behind in each pile of manure where it is consumed by various beetles and organisms responsible for the natural breakdown of organic material. And they are poisoned by it. It can also leach into the soil by rainfall. How long do these soil residues remain? No one really knows.
By choosing instead to implement all-natural, completely biodegradable management practices, soil health is continually improved which in turn increases future crop production, the quality of grazing for livestock and protects the diversity of wildlife.
Another aspect has great impact here on our farm as all our livestock play a vital part in our intense management/grazing program. Each pasture is grazed by different species, in a certain order. (Please refer to the previous blog entry http://walkaheadfarms.weebly.com/1/post/2013/05/what-do-we-at-walk-ahead-farms-mean-by-pasture-raised.html).
The conventional scenario might go a little something like this:
Farmer Joe treats his goats with a traditional, chemical wormer, once a month, every month of the year. Because of the chemical's frequent abuse and overuse, the parasites have developed a certain level of resistance. To rid his herd of worms, Farmer Joe must continually double and/or triple the recommended dosage to achieve the desired results which were once possible with a much smaller amount.
Because he doesn't practice rotational grazing through the utilization of numerous pastures or companion species, his land has become overworked and lacks the quality of grazing necessary to properly nourish his herd.
On top of this, worm egg numbers have exploded and his pasture is infested. Now his chemically treated goats have their livers working overtime to rid their bodies of all those toxins, their immunity is compromised, their housing is covered with fresh worm eggs, and their nutrition must come from an outside source.
So, Farmer Joe follows the advice of 'experts' and begins to give his goats commercial feed that is laced with antibiotics to help prevent disease. The goat's livers must work even harder to process this constant influx of new chemicals, straining their bodies even more.
Now add in Farmer Joe's chickens, who roam about the pastures alongside his goats. Chickens are omnivores and love nothing better than scratching about in manure looking for bugs and worms which is part of God's natural design for pest control. The hens are busily consuming large quantities of worms and parasite eggs, as intended, but these are now laden with poisonous, chemical residues. The unsanitary environment has compounded the parasite issue.
Farmer Joe now has to feed his chickens antibiotics and drugs to treat the frequent outbreaks of parasite infestation, coccidiosis and other diseases that appear to come out of nowhere.
And all the while, Farmer Joe is both personally consuming and marketing to his customers, 'FARM FRESH EGGS' and 'PASTURE RAISED MEATS'.
Scenario #2: Walk Ahead Farms
All animals are treated using completely natural, herbal methods leaving no chemical residues behind. They are carefully, mindfully, grazed in rotation which allows fertilization and rest for the soil. The grazing recooperates quickly and the parasite numbers naturally diminish.
When added to the garden, the composted manure makes the ideal plant food. The vegetable plants themselves become stronger, producing a greater harvest and allowing them to better withstand an attack by pests.
We then take the delicious produce, eggs and meats to the market where you, our beloved customer, have the opportunity to purchase them.
Which scenario will you choose?