Monday, January 07, 2008

Sugar Creek Farm Q&A Interview - Part 1

If you have been following the blog for a while you will remember that I recently did a question and answer interview with Tim of Nature's Harmony Farm (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4). I found the interview very interesting and information and I know that others did as well ... so, we are going to take another stab at it! This time I have had the pleasure of conducting an interview with Kelli Miller of Sugar Creek Farm in Osage, IA. This was an especially interesting interview because they are from our state and because they have a pretty neat thing started. I will be posting two questions and answers each day this week (Monday - Friday) so make sure you check back each day.

The Beginning Farmer
- Kelli, thanks so much for your willingness to tackle this. I'm pretty excited to hear from someone who has been working for a while and who lives in my general area! First of all could you give us a little background on how you came to Sugar Creek Farm? Why did it get started, how did it get started, and when did it get started?

Sugar Creek Farm - We both grew up on farms and always wanted to get back to it on some level. We wanted that experience for our own kids, of stewardship and responsibility for land and animals. In 2001 our oldest daughter was old enough to show a bottle calf at the county fair. My brother thought she ought to do that, so he bought 3 Holstein bottle calves and helped her break one to lead at the fair. After the fair they came to live at our house for the rest of the summer, since we had pasture not being used. That lit the fire under Matt and the next summer we bought 4 of our own Holstein bottle calves. Nevermind that our daughter didn't want to show one again (though she did show again another year.)

When it came time for vaccinations and castrating, I remember asking Matt if we had to implant them with hormones. I don't know if I thought it was a law, or what, but he said no we didn't have to. So we didn't. When you live in a very rural, traditional, commodity-farming community you have to be able to defend your ideals if you're doing something "different". So I started researching and thus began our journey into sustainable agriculture.

At first our only goal was to raise the kind of food we wanted to eat - animals raised on pasture without added hormones or unnecessary antibiotics, and organically grown vegetables. We figured we'd raise what we needed for our family and sell any surplus to cover costs. We started to build a beef breeding stock herd so that we would know how our animals were treated from birth to butchering. A year or so later we added pigs and chickens to our farm.

The Beginning Farmer - What does Sugar Creek Farm consist of (livestock, crops, etc.)? How did you end up with the combination of ventures you have on your farm?

Sugar Creek Farm - We have 12 acres and raise beef, pigs, and meat chickens. Up until this year we also rented 20 acres of hay ground. I think we ended up with those because that's what we like to eat! These are also the animals we enjoy raising. Matt has experience with sheep & goats and just doesn't enjoy raising them. Our farm is all in pasture, so we also purchase feed from our local elevator.
We also have a large organic vegetable garden but at this point it's just for our own family, not a business venture. Extra's are shared with friends and neighbors. But if one of our kids ever wants to try a vegetable business I'd sure let them!

**Today's picture is copywritten image by Kelli Miller of Sugar Creek Farm**

**Remember to check back tomorrow for part two**

1 comment:

Kramer said...

Really enjoy the interview. These are very informative in that I haven't found many farms, actually operating to be an obtainable, sustainable farm for other families to purchase from. Thank you for your time.

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