Hello, we are the Finch Family. We are a small family farm in South New Berlin, NY. The farm is owned and operated by Dakota and Cheyenne Finch and our 4 children: Memphis, Weston, Aspen, and Carson. We started our farming adventure in November 2017.
You may ask, how did we come to farming? Well, I, Dakota grew up on my grandpa's small dairy farm, throwing...or dragging hay bales at a young age then working near full time through high school and beyond. At Grandpa's we milked about 60 cows and harvested a couple hundred acres of hay and corn. It was there that my passion for farming and livestock began. I never thought I would be a full time farmer. I always said whatever I ended up doing: mechanic, teacher, police officer, whatever it was going to be I would have a small hobby farm.
After high school and a year of college I joined the United States Air Force in March 2010. After months of letters, phone calls, and skype sessions Cheyenne and I got married on October 29, 2010. Our first duty station was in South Carolina. Our first two kids were born there. As an F16 aircraft mechanic I was deployed to South Korea and Jordan. It was during my time in Jordan that I figured out what it was I wanted to do with my life. I was going to be a farmer. I discovered organic farming, grassfed livestock, and regenerative agriculture in my search for how we were going to make farming a profitable reality in the current farm economy. A farm economy where the farmer receives on average just fourteen cents on the dollar for products sold into the commodity market.
We made plans to separate from the Air Force to ultimately become diversified livestock farmers. During my last year in active duty service I went to South Korea while Cheyenne and the kids went back to start our life in New York. After coming home in January of 2016 I enrolled in classes at SUNY Cobleskill where I would eventually get my Bachelors Degree in Animal Science in December 2017. I also joined the New York Air National Guard, doing maintenance on C130 aircraft.
Cheyenne's path to farming is a bit different. Checkout her blog Fearful to Fearless Farmer for all the in depth details of her journey. In short,she had never had any connection to a farm while growing up or at any point in her life. Her preparation came from the one goat that we bought in March of 2016. Petunia and her kid, Clover, were Cheyenne's first foray into farming. This experiment with farming may have helped but did not completely prepare her for the work that was to come with having a fully functioning farm.
In November of 2017 we started to farm. We were milking 24 cows, shipping our milk to Maple Hill Creamery. We would not have been able to start farming without the great generosity of Heidi Tafel, the owner of the farm that we now lease. I met Heidi during my college internship. When I found out she may be interested in selling her cows and leasing her farm in the near future I began to get excited at the prospects of getting a good, solid start into farming. Heidi was so very generous and willing to work with us and to get us on our feet. We are eternally grateful.
We are focusing on regenerating soil and improving our land through regenerative agriculture, holistic management, organic practices, and grass-fed and pastured livestock.
Currently we have 42 dairy cows and replacements of many different breeds including Jerseys, Linebacks, Shorthorns, Ayrshires, Brown Swiss, Guernseys, and one Holstein. While our farm began with a dairy herd we knew that we wanted our farm to be diversified. We began to raise a few beef animals along side our dairy herd as well as pigs and a brief stint with chickens.
Our experience with pigs began in January 2018 with just two little piglets. We raised one for our own freezer and one for future breeding purposes. After not getting the female bred we decided to sell her and stick with raising piglets up to butchering age and size. In January 2019 we got our second batch of piglets, this time 4 of them. We are currently raising them and they are doing great.
During the grazing season (May-November) the cows are rotated to new pasture every 12 hours and they do not return to the previous spot for 30-45 days. This rest allows the grass to regrow, both above the ground and below. The above ground growth is used as forage for the cows and the below ground growth(the roots) remain in the soil as carbon. Thus, we use the cows to sequester carbon from the atmosphere, all while getting high quality milk and beef.
The pigs are raised on pasture and in the woods with ample amount of room to roam and express their natural pigness. What is their natural pigness? It is foraging for food, eating grasses and other forbes, finding and eating bugs in the soil. We are careful not to leave the pigs in the same spot for too long. We rotate them to a new pasture, much like we do the cows in order to prevent destruction of the soil in their pastures and wooded areas. Our pigs also eat some of our grassfed organic milk and have free choice organic hog feed available at all times.
What is bulk meat sales? Bulk/half or whole is a hog bought by a customer and cut to the exact specifications of the buyer. A whole pig equates to about 200 pounds of meat in the freezer. Stay tuned and subscribe to our newsletter for availability of bulk pork and pork by the pound.
Starting in April 2019 we will have grass fed organic ground beef available for sale right here on our website. Woodlot/pastured beyond organic pork will become available in October 2019. Early 2020 we will begin selling all different cuts of our grassfed organic beef.
Our goal is to continue to diversify and provide our valued customers with more and more options in the future. Those possibilities include fruits, vegetables, pumpkins, chicken, eggs, rabbit, lamb, raw milk, and goat.
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