Happy Farmer Friday!
Meet George and Cherry Teague – one of the six amazing finalists in our Grant a Farmer’s Wish Campaign. George believes organic is “nothing but beneficial for the earth, the cows and for us.” Here, in their own words, they share their story and their wish for receiving a grant.
We operate an organic dairy on Reedy Fork Farm, a fifth generation farm in the rapidly growing area between North Carolina’s Piedmont and Triangle areas. George’s parents started the dairy in 1950, we made the organic transition and joined Organic Valley in 2007, and our son and nephew are now working with us, trying to find a way for two new families to make a living from the farm.
We wish to install an energy efficient feed mill on our farm to process certified organic grains for the other members of Organic Valley’s dairy pool in the southeast, as well as livestock growers and small farmers across the state who want a local source of organic feed. For the past four years, we have served as the organic feed depot for the nine members of the Southeast Dairy Pool in Organic Valley, receiving shipments of raw organic grains either grown here in North Carolina or shipped in from around the country, grinding and mixing, and shipping out to our fellow dairy pool members.
We receive frequent calls from small farmers and backyard livestock operations looking for small batches of organic feed for their chickens, pigs, cows, horses, and goats. We are the only source of organic feed in the state; without us, those growers wanting organic feed must order large pallets from Virginia or Pennsylvania. With our present setup, which runs grinders and mixers from the PTO’s of our tractors and fills bags by hand, this is a very slow and inefficient process. An electric mill, with automatic bagger, would increase our energy efficiency by 93.9 % (according to an energy audit) and provide a secondary enterprise with the potential to keep the next generation on the farm.
Once installed, this mill could (1) increase opportunities for organic feed grain production in North Carolina (10,000 acres are currently certified), (2) process the raw organic commodities into mixes, (3) package these mixes in quantities accessible to all sizes of farms looking for organic livestock feed (from large commercial operations to backyard hobbyists), and (4) create more opportunities for the sales of organic livestock and meat.
Visit our Facebook Page to hear the stories from the other finalists and place your vote to help support organic farming. Plus, tune in next Friday to get to know more of the fantastic Organic Valley farmers who produce the milk for our yogurt.
Photo Copyright David Nevala for Organic Valley