Rural Community

Our Year In Review

“We pray for plenty of good hard work to do, and the strength to do it.” 

This is the saying written in our dining pavilion over the serving window. It is our farm’s unofficial motto, a prayer Will remembers from his youth.

We had many milestones in 2016. We are proud of our accomplishments and grateful for our blessings. Below, our managers share a list of notable milestones.

1.) Welcome Baby Jack!

Jack Carter Harris was born December 7, 2016 to Jenni and Amber Harris, starting the 6th Harris generation born on the farm. This healthy baby boy has already brought so much joy to the farm family. We look forward to his generation inheriting White Oak Pastures as a farm who’s soil and community has been enriched and regenerated due to our farming practices.

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2.) Grand Opening of the White Oak Pastures General Store 

It truly took our whole community to refurbish and reopen Bluffton’s 19th century general store. We believe that regenerative agriculture has the power to restore rural communities. We see our store as a step towards revitalizing downtown Bluffton.

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3.) 150th Birthday

This year marked our farm’s 150th Birthday, or, our Sesquicentennial. This little known word is hard to pronounce so we made a quick video of our brave employees giving it a try. We had an incredible turn out for our 150th Birthday Celebration with the Bo Henry Band on October 15, 2016.

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4.) Internship/ Apprenticeship Program Initiated 

Our official Internship/ Apprenticeship Program completed its first successful year. White Oak Pastures offers our interns a unique farm experience in scale and vertical integration while simultaneously providing an idea-incubating space for young people interested in regenerative agriculture.

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5.) Second Annual 5K Ruff Run

Regenerative agriculture focuses on the health of the soil, the health of the animals, and the health of the people who perpetuate this system. Many of our customers, partners and employees support us because they prioritize health. What better way to honor our regenerative community than through a fun event focused on healthy bodies? Our Second Annual 5K Ruff Run was a great success this spring.

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6.) Land Purchases

This year we purchased increments of 250 acres, 120 acres and 60 acres. We are excited to incorporate this land into our organic, holistic system. We look forward to using animal impact and holistic management to revive this land which was previously farmed industrially.

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7.) Internet Fulfillment Center Development 

At the start of the year, the Internet Fulfillment Center (IFC) was operating out of the poultry plant. With our internet business quickly growing, the need for a larger facility became apparent. Therefore, we moved our IFC to its own building with nearly 2000 square feet of freezer space and its own shipping dock.

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When we moved the IFC, we hit the ground running. We were filling all of the online orders while transitioning our entire inventory and implementing a new organization system all at the same time. It was a wild first couple of months, but by Thanksgiving we had a clean running machine and filled several hundred turkey orders in about three days. We are now working to fully digitize our inventory management paperwork and looking forward to a great year in 2017.

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8.) Iberian Hogs

This year saw our first successful breeding of Iberian hogs on White Oak Pastures land and our first Iberians to reached slaughter weight. Our Iberian hogs are some of the first Iberians ever born and raised outside of the Iberian peninsula. We have about 200 Iberians now.

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9.) Conversion of Garden to Pig Paddocks

We converted the land on which our organic garden used to be located into pig paddocks. Here, we are experimenting with forage cover crops to reduce the amount of feed we have to buy in from off farm. The cover crops also allow us to further increase soil organic matter, reduce soil compaction and promote a thriving microbial and fungal community in our soil. Our pigs also love the lush forage.

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10.) Hide Barn Construction 

Our new hide barn is well under way in construction. In September 2016, we received a Local Producer Loan from Whole Foods Market to build a new facility for our pet chews. 2016 saw us break ground and make great strides towards finishing this important building. Folks are more and more cautious about what they feed themselves and their pets and the demand for all natural, grass-fed pet chews has grown immensely.

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We began making hand-crafted rawhide pet chews on the farm in 2013 and at that time we were utilizing about 8 cattle hides each week. Due to customer demand, our department has grown immensely. Today we turn about 30 hides from fresh to sun-dried each week. Our goal is to quickly double that number once we move into the new facility.

DSC_0616.jpgThe hide barn building is conveniently located across from our General Store in Bluffton and will also include our tallow and leather departments, as well as a nice space to display our cowhide rugs.

Our building will include our leather workshop where we will make all our leather goods such as bags, bracelets, dog collars, etc. We hope our farm visitors will stop by to explore the new building and even bring along their pets!  This will be a cozy, crafty and comfortable space to hang out and even make your own bracelet. Visitors can watch the tallow soap, candle, or lip balm creation processes as well.

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As Mr. Will said, “2016 was the best year of my life and I have had a pretty long and damn good ride”.

Categories: Animal Welfare, Regenerative Land Management, Rural Community, Zero-Waste | 2 Comments

Meet Our Leather Crafter Alena Ivakhnenko

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If you visit our General Store in Bluffton you’ll notice our leather workshop tucked in the back corner. Our leather crafter Alena works here daily and has hand-made almost every leather product on our shelves.  Alena grew up in the Ukraine and spent most of her childhood in her grandmother’s garden. There she developed a deep connection with agriculture and the natural world.

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Once she realized it was possible to turn the outdoors into a career and a lifestyle, Alena began focusing on gaining experience and worked in Ching Animal Sanctuary, the Utah Conservation Corps and the Alaska Forest Service. She hopes to work her own farm in the future and also educate high school age teenagers about agricultural career options.

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Alena applied to White Oak Pastures as an intern in the Garden Program. While working in the garden, Alena listened to the Farmer to Farmer podcast. This podcast highlighted the opportunity for value-added product creation in the farming off-season. Alena hopes to work with value-added products such as leather with her own farm and saw the White Oak Pastures leather crafting position as an opportunity to learn a life-long skill.

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While Alena’s background in photography lent her a visual eye, she has never worked with her hands in a craft like this before. However, she applied her hard work ethic and artistic eye and grew the leather department immensely. Alena finds it very rewarding to “experience what goes in to developing and expanding a business”.

mortelliti_lowres-2179The most gratifying aspect of her job is the “appreciation from people who get the products I make with my own two hands”. Alena finds it “satisfying to see something that I made from start to finish that people are using”.

A difficult part of her job is performing repetitive tasks while still maintaining attention to detail. Working with hair-on leather is also very hard and she will occasionally get “hair splinters”.  Our leather is very thick and working with it can be quite time consuming. There is also a fair amount of problem solving regarding stitching and cutting since each hide is unique.

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The goats and turkeys are Alena’s favorite White Oak Pastures farm animals. The goats are “silly and cute” and the turkeys are “super sweet and really intelligent birds”.

Customers often come in to our General Store and see Alena working in the leather shop. However, they do not automatically assume that the leather she’s crafting comes from our own cattle. Alena sees this as a symptom of our consumer society’s isolation from the product supply chain. She feels our leather department plays an important role in helping consumers reevaluate how they see the product supply chain. Alena feels strongly that a zero-waste approach to farming is important for the future of sustainable farms and how they think of revenue.

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Categories: Rural Community, Staff Spotlight, Zero-Waste | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Debunking the “feed the world” myth

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The topic of “feeding the world” is hotly debated.

Industrialized agriculture interests argue that factory farming is the only way to feed our growing world population. This mantra is used to justify destructive and inhumane practices that make food artificially cheap and wastefully abundant.

We believe that every country has a right to develop their own food production system. We don’t believe that we American farmers and ranchers are supposed to feed the entire world; we think we’re supposed to feed our community. That being said, we’re very happy to take this opportunity to explain our perspective on this issue.

Before having that discussion, we all need to stipulate that the earth has a limited carrying capacity, meaning there are not infinite resources available on this planet to produce food and sustain life for an unlimited population.

If the acreage that is available to farm is the only limiting factor, industrialized agriculture wins. By using artificial crutches developed by reductionist science, factory farms can produce more food per acre of land than regenerative farms can.

If petroleum is the limiting factor for feeding the world, we win, because we don’t use as much as they do. If global warming is the limiting factor, we win. We don’t produce as many greenhouse gasses as they do. If antibiotic-resistant pathogens are the limiting factor, we win. If topsoil loss, endangering wildlife species, increasing dead areas in the seas, pesticide contamination, diminished resources, water shortage and contamination, and a host of other disasters are the limiting factor, we win. These problems have only been with us since agriculture became industrialized.

Factory farming truly made food abundant and cheap. It is more efficient and productive per acre of land, if that is the only consideration. But it has horrific unintended consequences for our animals, our natural resources, and the economy of rural America.

Categories: Animal Welfare, Regenerative Land Management, Rural Community | 11 Comments

Look inside our 19th century general store

We’ve been working hard all summer to restore Bluffton, Georgia’s historic 175-year-old general store as part of our effort to breathe life into our little town. This will be the first store within the city limits in 40 years. There are only a few days left until our grand opening on October 15th, but we couldn’t wait to share our progress with you as we put on the finishing touches.

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As a tribute to its rich history, we retained as much of the original store as possible. We’ve kept the original counters, preserved the floors and other woodwork, and decorated the store with its authentic artifacts and others from around the farm. Check out our previous blog post for more on the store’s history.

We have plenty of space now, so we’re able to offer an expanded selection of White Oak Pastures products. We have all 10 species of red meat and poultry available, as well as eggs, vegetables, and artisan goods. We’ve been busy pickling and canning our organic vegetables to put on the shelves, and we’ll offer cooked sausage dogs to eat in the store from our expanded sausage line.

Check out our leather shop inside the General Store where we’re making leather goods by hand from our cattle hides. Every day we’re designing new earrings, bracelets, bags, wallets, and more. You can even dye your own bracelets, which make wonderful gifts. We’re also displaying beautiful cowhide rugs for sale that we just picked up from the tannery in Sebring, FL.

We’re showcasing plenty of other Georgia Grown products, too. The majority of the items on our shelves are produced locally, including pepper jellies and fruit preserves to pair with our meats and Sweet Grass Dairy cheeses; pancake, brownie, scone, and bread baking mixes; and oils, syrups, and sauces. We’ve also installed a brand new ice cream machine, which Will might have put in for himself, but regardless, we’d love for you to try some, too.

We hope this will be more of a community gathering place than just a general store. We have bicycles for rent to ride around Bluffton or the farm, or you can sit outside and eat a meal from our food trailer. Across the street we’re building a new hide barn, where we’ll prepare cowhides to be sent for tanning, or start the process of making rawhide pet chews. With all these activities right in downtown Bluffton, you can get the White Oak Pastures farm experience in one quick visit.

Come visit our new store at 101 Church St in Bluffton. We hope to see you on the farm soon!

Categories: Rural Community | 2 Comments

Top 5 reasons to celebrate our 150th anniversary with us

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Join us the weekend of October 15th as we commemorate our 150th anniversary. We’ll make it a real celebration with our largest event yet. Over the years we’ve refined our traditions and skills, and like the wines Will Harris is well known to enjoy, we only get better with age. If you’re on the fence about what to do the weekend of October 15th, check out the top five reasons to spend it in Bluffton.

1. Grand re-opening of the White Oak Pastures General Store
We’re proud that now that we’ve put the artisanal labor back in agriculture, our little town can again support its own store. We’re putting the finishing touches on our restoration of Bluffton’s 175-year-old general store and we can’t wait to show it to you. Join us for a ribbon cutting ceremony and enjoy the expanded selection of products available, including ice cream.

2. Exclusive livestream of the Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium
The Southern Foodways Alliance does amazing work preserving and promoting the diverse food culture of the American South. Their annual symposium is held in Oxford, Mississippi and tickets sell out quickly, but this year we are excited to be able to offer an exclusive live-stream of the event right here in Bluffton.

3. Local farm-to-table food
Lunch and supper will be available for our guests at the White Oak Pastures food truck, and you won’t want to miss Chef Reid’s surprise 150th anniversary signature burger. After a night of celebrating a century-and-a-half on our family farm, we hope you will join us for Sunday brunch in our on-farm Pavilion.

4. Music! Drinking! Dancing!
That wine we mentioned? There will be plenty of it. We’ll have a cash bar to wash down your fine meal with beer and wine, and we’ll welcome the locally famous Bo Henry Band from Albany, GA for a night of dancing in the streets of downtown Bluffton.

5. Be part of the rural revival
We’ve breathed life into our farm village that had slipped almost into oblivion. Take a ride around Bluffton by horse-drawn farm wagon or bicycle, get to know the people who produce your food, and celebrate the regenerative agriculture movement that is putting Bluffton back on the map!

Click here for full event details. We look forward to seeing you on October 15th.

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Land, livestock, and the pursuit of a new logo

 

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Selling premium, value-added meat and poultry to consumers requires a good amount of marketing, which is not something that comes naturally to us here at White Oak Pastures. Fonts, color schemes, photos and logo designs weren’t handed down from previous generations like land stewardship and livestock husbandry. But, as we’ve done with so many changes during our rapid growth, we adapted to and embraced this new component: logo design.

In the early 2000s, one of our first tasks in building a marketing platform was to pick a name for our website. For a century, what we all know as White Oak Pastures was actually called Tenac Oak Pastures. Will Harris received great advice from a neighbor: “Don’t call your farm something people can’t easily spell. Do you want to spend the rest of your life spelling the word Tenac?” Tenac Oak is the local name for White Oak. But, since Tenac isn’t in most everyone’s normal vocabulary, Will decided that White Oak Pastures would be an equally appropriate name. Our farm is three miles from the Kolomoki Indian Mounds, and Kolomoki translates to “Land of the White Oak.” The rest is history!

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The second task was to pick a logo. Back in the early 2000s, the only product we had to market was grassfed beef. Thankfully, our logo didn’t turn out to be a cow, since today we raise 10 species of animals. Instead, we reflected on the true definition of the word brand: “an identifying mark burned on livestock with a branding iron.” For generations, the Harris family branded our cattle with the same “circle-H” that you see in the logo today, which stands for the “H” in Harris. In an effort to reduce infliction of pain on our animals, we stopped branding them more than 30 years ago. But what better way to brand our products than with the same mark that previous generations used to differentiate our live animals from those of our neighbors?

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Our old logo, early 2000s to 2016

Back then, we decided to make the Harris “H” the main component of our farm logo. We proudly used that logo during the last busy 10 years of business. Today, in our 150th year, we raise 10 different species of animals, market all of these to passionate customers, grow vegetables, tan hides, compost, house overnight guests, and many other things, and the “H” family brand still communicates all of this to the world.

However, over the last 10 years, we found that we were constantly explaining the connection between the “circle-H” and the words “White Oak Pastures.” It seemed folks struggled with the correlation, and we couldn’t really blame them. Knowing that we needed some guidance, we hired Egg Branding to help us consolidate our message. After months of discussion, we are excited to reveal our new logo (top of this page), which still proudly includes the “circle-H” while putting more emphasis on the amazing “organism” (as Will calls it) that is White Oak Pastures. What would our brand be without the history of who we are and where we came from? We hope you like our new look, and the hard work and dedication it represents.

Join us October 15th to celebrate 150 years of building the White Oak Pastures brand and culture. Click here for event details.

Categories: Animal Welfare, Regenerative Land Management, Rural Community | Tags: | Leave a comment

The secrets of the ancient Kolomoki Mounds

The Kolomoki Mounds site is the largest and oldest tribal mound complex east of the Mississippi. Located just west of White Oak Pastures outside Bluffton, Georgia, these eight mounds were hand-built by some of the earliest inhabitants of the area, the Swift Creek and Weeden Island cultures. Building these mounds was a monumental task, toting dirt one basketful at a time. The largest mound, the size of a football field at the base and 56 ft high, required more than two million basket loads of soil.

These early hunter-gatherers had to have been very prosperous to be able to engage in an extravagant extraneous activity like mound-building, and the reason this was possible is the high productivity of the land.

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There’s something special in this little strip of land right through here that’s about 15 miles long and just a few hundred yards wide. We call it the Bluffton Ridge, and it’s the area where the Appalachian Mountains have gone underground and project like a finger under the coastal plains weather pattern.

Generally, the land in the coastal plains is sandy and of poor quality. But in this ridge we’ve got uneroded, incredibly rich mountain soil. We’re also in a highly productive weather pattern, with optimal rainfall and temperatures. It’s the perfect storm of weather and geology, where plants and animals grow and produce really well.

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These tiny Appalachian rocks are treasure chests of minerals.

It’s interesting to note that the people of ancient Kolomoki built the mounds right next to this strip of land, but not on it. They knew this soil was special.

From 350-600 A.D., Kolomoki was the largest settlement north of Mexico. These early Native Americans were the first of many prosperous inhabitants who thrived on the rich soil of the Bluffton Ridge.

Andrew Jackson defeated the Creek Nation in 1814, and founded Bluffton in 1815. The Creeks inhabited Southeast Alabama, Southwest Georgia, and North Florida, but Jackson and the early Europeans chopped their way through the jungle with purpose, founding Bluffton before any other city in the region.

Before the industrialization of agriculture drove people away in the mid 1900s, Bluffton was a prosperous city, too. Will Harris’ grandmother attended Bluffton’s Pine Plains Boarding School for Girls, where she learned to paint oil on canvas and studied Emily Post etiquette during the era when girls weren’t commonly taught to even read or write. Bluffton had one of the first concrete swimming pools in the state back in 1920, called The Bluff. And in 1924, a successful initiative called the “Lord’s Acre” was featured in Time magazine, in which farmers in the Baptist Church congregation each donated one acre of production as a tithing. In the era of “40 acres and a mule,” most farms couldn’t afford to donate an acre of production, but because of that highly productive mountain ridge soil, it was possible in Bluffton.

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Kolomoki translates to “Land of the White Oaks,” and it is now our turn to care for this little strip of land. At White Oak Pastures, we’ve tapped into the richness of this soil to build one of the 17 accredited Savory Hubs around the world, and we proactively support nature’s food chain using only sun, soil, and rain to grow organic sweet grasses for our animals to eat. Regenerative agriculture is a core value of White Oak Pastures, for the sake of our animals, our environment, our community, and for those who will inhabit this land after we’re gone.

Categories: Regenerative Land Management, Rural Community | Tags: , , , | 9 Comments

Bringing a ghost town back to life

Today, there are only two businesses in the town of Bluffton, GA: a post office and a seasonal peanut elevator. The only thing you can buy in Bluffton is a stamp, and the only thing you can sell is a truckload of peanuts. However, this won’t be the case for long. We’re on a mission to revive our little ghost town, building by building.

The industrialization of agriculture has not been good for the economic well-being of rural America. All across the country, small farming communities like Bluffton have fallen into oblivion as agriculture has become commoditized and centralized. If we can pull this off, Bluffton will be a thriving little town that sunk into oblivion and was returned to being a thriving little town through regenerative agriculture.

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Panoramic view of present day Pine and Church Streets

We are in the midst of reconstructing Bluffton’s 175-year-old general store, last owned by Mr. Herman Bass in the 1970s. This store was a cornerstone of the community back when the town was thriving, but for the past 40 years it sat abandoned, acting as a time capsule for general stores past.

We found a lot of cool slice-of-life artifacts inside the old store: canned goods and soda bottles, tools, and stacks of historical records. In order to work on the foundation of the building, we took up part of the sidewalk that had been poured over 75 years ago. Underneath, we found a single-shot, breech loading 12-gauge shotgun which surely has a fascinating story behind it. Our favorite piece of history is the hand print and signatures of Will’s mother, Eloise, and aunt Allene, in the concrete across the street. They were left when this concrete was poured in the 1930s.

We’ve been busy planning and rebuilding, and we’ll open Bluffton’s general store the weekend of October 15th as we celebrate White Oak Pastures’ 150th year (click here for details!). We’re proud that now that we’ve put the artisanal labor back in agriculture, our little town can again support its own store. Sustainable farming, the same girl that brought Bluffton to the party, is now bringing it back. We’re excited to continue serving our community and to offer an expanded selection for our customers. Y’all come and see us!

Categories: Rural Community | 29 Comments

Second Annual 5K Ruff Run

We had a blast this Saturday at our second annual 5K Ruff Run! Contestants were challenged by 14 obstacles throughout our pastures, while the two days of rain prior to the event added a whole other level of difficulty. You can do a mud run anywhere, but where else can you do an obstacle-filled race on a farm with 10 species of livestock looking on?

The event was organized by our Tourism Manager, Jodi Harris Benoit, one of the fifth-generation of Harrises on the farm. Jodi wanted to offer something different, as our guests often visit the farm more for the educational component. Fitness is important to many of our customers, and this was a chance to get outside in the spring weather, get muddy and have fun, while learning about where your food comes from at the same time.

Tim Hauber, our Construction and Maintenance Manager, used his architectural background to design and build obstacles one runner described as more difficult than a military training course. Some of the challenges included climbing walls, a barbed wire crawl, a frame of monkey bars, a tire climb, and finally a mountain of hay bales to scale before crossing the finish line.

Our farm animals got in on the action, too, with one of our hens laying an egg in the hay bale obstacle after the race!

Guests also enjoyed our after-run activities, including a mechanical bull, cowboy joust, cornhole, paintball, beer and music, while Chef Reid served up pastured and grassfed sandwiches from the White Oak Pastures food truck.

Thank you to our community for coming together for a really unique and fun event. We can’t wait to see y’all again next year!

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Life on the Farm: Q&A with Will Harris

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1. Do you remember your first day “taking over” the farm? Can you describe it for us?
EXCEPT FOR MY 4 YEARS AT COLLEGE, I HAVE LIVED AND WORKED ON THIS FARM ALL OF MY LIFE.  I HAVE NEVER WANTED TO DO ANYTHING EXCEPT RUN THIS FARM.  I MAJORED IN ANIMAL SCIENCE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA IN PREPARATION FOR DOING THIS.

WHEN I GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE, I EXPECTED MY FATHER TO GO AND SIT ON THE PORCH SO THAT I COULD RUN THE FARM.  HE HAD A VERY DIFFERENT IDEA.

HE WAS AN ONLY CHILD, AND I WAS AN ONLY CHILD.  EITHER OF THESE WAS PRETTY UNUSUAL FOR OUR GENERATIONS.  IT WAS UNHEARD OF THE STACK THEM.

WE WERE LIKE TWO BROTHERS, FATHER & SON, BUSINESS PARTNERS, AND BEST FRIENDS.  WE COULD HUNT & FISH TOGETHER, EAT & DRINK TOGETHER, BUT WE COULD NOT WORK TOGETHER.  HE WAS THE ORDAINED KING, AND I HAD OPINIONS THAT I JUST COULD NOT KEEP TO MYSELF.  WE PISSED EACH OTHER OFF.  IT WAS BAD.

HE WAS TOO SMART TO LET US LIVE IN A COMBATIVE SITUATION. HE AVOIDED THIS BY MAKING ME GET AN OFF FARM JOB IMMEDIATELY AFTER GRADUATION.  I BECAME THE REGIONAL MANAGER OF A FARMER COOPERATIVE.  WE RAN COTTON GINS, PEANUT MILLS, FERTILIZER BLENDERS, AND GRAIN ELEVATORS.  IT WAS GREAT EXPERIENCE FOR ME AND I COULD NOT HAVE DONE THE THINGS, IN THE MANAGEMENT OF THIS FARM, THAT I HAVE DONE IF I HAD NOT HAD THIS EXPERIENCE FORCED ON ME.

BUT… I ALWAYS LIVED ON THIS FARM, AND WAS ALWAYS VERY INVOLVED IN WORKING ON THE FARM.  I WORKED 40 HOURS EACH WEEK FOR THE CO-OP, AND OVER 40 HOURS MORE EACH WEEK ON THE FARM.  I ONCE COMPLAINED ABOUT HOW I WORKED ALL OF THE TIME.  DADDY SAID “YOU DON’T WORK BUT HALF OF THE TIME”.  HE MEANT 12 HOURS OF THE DAY, 7 DAYS PER WEEK.  HE SAID THAT IF A MAN WANTS TO “ACCUMULATE SOMETHING” HE NEEDS TO WORK MORE THAN HALF OF THE TIME.

ONE HOT DAY, IN 1995, DADDY DROVE HIS PICK UP TO WHERE I WAS BUILDING A NEW FENCE IN THE PASTURE.  HE SAID “DO YOU WANT THEM DAMN COWS?”.  I SAID “HELL YES I WANT THEM DAMN COWS.  THAT IS WHY I’M BUILDING THIS DAMN FENCE”.  HE SAID “TAKE THEM”, AND HE DROVE OFF.  AND THE TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT WAS DONE.  WE HAD NEVER DISCUSSED ANY SORT OF TRANSFER BEFORE THIS AND, EXCEPT FOR THAT EXCHANGE, WE NEVER DID AFTER EITHER.

I KNOW THAT DADDY GAVE IT UP THAT DAY BECAUSE HE WAS BEGINNING TO FEEL THE FIRST SIGNS OF DEMENTIA.  HE NOR I NEVER ACKNOWLEDGED IT, BUT THAT WAS THE DEAL.  IT SLOWLY KILLED HIM OVER THE NEXT FIVE LONG AND SAD YEARS.

AFTER THAT DISCUSSION ON THAT HOT DAY, HE NEVER TOOK ANY SORT OF ACTIVE ROLE ON THE FARM.  NONE AT ALL.  IT WAS VERY TRAGIC THAT IT HAD TO BE THAT WAY.

2. On January 1, 2014, two of your daughters were officially back on the farm and White Oak Pastures employees. What was that day like for you?
THE BEST DAMN TIME OF MY LIFE.  THE STORY ABOVE WILL GIVE YOU INSIGHT AS TO WHY.

3. I just picked up my first batch of layers today. Although I feel responsible for the current layers in the pasture, I feel more bonded to, or just more responsible for the ones I got today. It’s the first ones I hope to raise from start to finish. How did you feel when you bought/slaughtered/sold your first cow?
YOU ARE EXPERIENCING THE STEWARDSHIP OF THESE CHICKS. STEWARDSHIP OF YOUR OWN LAND AND ANIMALS IS THE CLOSEST THAT PEOPLE CAN EVER COME TO FEELING THE COMPASSION OF GOD FOR HIS SUBJECTS.  MOST PEOPLE NEVER GET THAT.

4. What do you look forward to the most about retirement? Or do farmers every truly retire?
MY RETIREMENT WILL CONSIST OF GRADUALLY HANDING OFF DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES, UNTIL I HAVE NONE LEFT.  WHEN THERE ARE NONE LEFT, IF MY HEALTH IS GOOD, I WILL RIDE A HORSE AROUND THE FARM ALL DAY EVERY DAY.

 

If you have any questions for Will, please leave them in the comments section and I’ll do my best to get an answer for you!

Categories: Animal Welfare, Regenerative Land Management, Rural Community, Staff Spotlight | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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