Slow Meat: down on the farm with Farm 45, LLC

It’s like camping without a tent.. I want them (the sheep) to be as happy and healthy as they can get. –Terry Groth, Farm 45, LLC

SheepA few weekends ago, we enjoyed an afternoon at Farm 45 LLC in Jackson for an event called “BBQ on the Banks”. Owner Terry Groth, together with representatives from Town and Country RC&D and the River Alliance of Wisconsin, accompanied guests on a walking tour to discuss the livestock management techniques he uses to steward his land, its soil and waterways, and to raise his animals–140 sheep and 60 goats in all. Afterwards, we sampled the goods with a delicious lunch of lamb (two ways) and local veggies made by Chef Brian Moran and his chefs-in-training from MATC. Farm 45 sign You might not know Terry, but you may have eaten the meat he direct markets to chefs–GoodKind, Hinterland, and Buckley’s are a few places where you’ll see it on the menu. “Grassfed” and “pasture-raised” are two additional words you might encounter during your adventures in eating sustainably in Milwaukee, but the meaning is especially clear when you’re out a ways, in view of bleating livestock and clomping through verdant pastures of deep-rooted chicory, plantain, and other native grasses.

Farm 45 was originally a dairy farm but today, in addition to corn and soybeans, the owners focus their energy on animal production. In the end, Terry says it’s easier and less labor–less resource-intensive, too. The sheep are moved using temporary fencing every few days from pasture to pasture, where they eat plants and spread waste. This method, called “rotational grazing”, allows the land to regenerate between feedings and creates an ecosystem whereby 80% of what’s consumed returns back into the land. The practice requires skill and management–the grazer has to work out how to feed the animals according to the maturity of plants, in a constant process of trial and error.

Animeaux Terry makes it seem easy, and so do his sheep, which are quickly gaining popularity among shepherds. Called the “Angus of Sheep Breeds”, Katahdins are known for their fertility, good mothering instincts, hardiness, and shedding–attributes that save the farmer time and labor and help the animals resist potential health problems. When he puts his sheep out to pasture, Terry likens it to camping without a tent (and the campground is beautiful).

To follow Terry and Farm 45 (and maybe arrange a tour for yourself), become a fan of Farm 45 LLC on Facebook. Click here to learn more about Town and Country RC&D’s program to transition conventional and beginning farmers to grass-based systems and rotational grazing. And to read about the mission and initiatives of the River Alliance of Wisconsin, visit their website at http://www.wisconsinrivers.org/.

Come back soon for more updates on Slow Meat, the conference Jen Ede, our Slow Meat Coordinator, attended back in June. *Photo credits: Farm 45 LLC Facebook page

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    Wednesday, 12 August, 2015

    […] Food Wise invites you to join Bavette La Boucherie and Farm 45 for a special evening on the Farm. The night will begin with an assortment of charcuterie hand […]

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