This past Saturday investors, staff, farmers and other friends gathered at our farms near Corvallis for tours and dinner at our annual Oregon Stakeholder Appreciation Event. I just wanted to put a few of my favorite pictures from the day up to share and say thanks again for all who came. What we are doing requires a team effort and it was so joyful to see many of the people I have relied on to build this business present and engaging with each other.
A long table that seated about 100 was quite a sight. The shade of the overhang on the seed mill was a perfect spot for the evening and I appreciated the cooling breeze.
After sundown the bright lights in the seed mill kept the games going for the kids, and the band played on while conversations continued.
I was fortunate to take to the air briefly from the Corvallis airport around noon that day and caught this view of the sheep on pasture around the center pivot and the main facilities.
Harvest of seeds is ongoing but the tractors were parked for the day, which some guests took advantage of.
We were told by some investors that the walking tour of the organic red clover field was an “ah-ha” moment for them. Below is a picture of the field being harvested on the Monday following the tour.
The history of this field is diverse. It was planted last June and included a mix of red clover and Sudan grass seeds. The field was grazed by sheep last summer, then about 50 of 150 acres was harvested for Sudan grass seed. From about March through June of this year the field was grazed by both sheep and cattle. The red clover responded very well from the grazing and subsequent irrigation and was ready to harvest by early September.
Because we grazed through June not only did the farm receive substantial livestock income, but it was able to get a nearly pure stand of clover without applying a grass herbicide, which is standard practice on most farms.
Our investors loved learning that, from one planting in the summer of 2013 on one field, we have derived revenue from at least five sources:
- Grazed sheep and received rent from our sheep rancher partner
- Grazed cattle and received rent from our cattle rancher partner
- Harvested and sold Sudan grass hay and received crop revenue share
- Harvested Sudan grass seed and received crop revenue share
- Harvested clover seed for sale and lease income
This is in addition to sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, providing local jobs, reducing the carbon footprint of raising livestock by feeding the animals from the ground where they live, and more. After being grazed and harvested for clover seed, this field will be very fertile and ready for rotation into organic vegetables and grains by some lucky farmer in 2-3 years. This is certainly one of my favorite examples of how our program of integrating livestock and crops works to add value to the soil, lower input costs and increase cash flow.