This "National Eagle Day", and with the 4th of July just around the corner, we want to provide an update about a very American symbol, who has made a home on our farm: the bald eagles at White Oak Pastures.Around 2010, we introduced chickens to our farm, starting with a small flock of 500. Soon after, we added other poultry - ducks, turkeys, geese, and guinea hens, as well as thousands of more chickens. Soon after that, another kind of bird - bald eagles - was spotted on our farm.
We know that many of our customers and supporters are aware that carbon emissions from industrialized beef production contribute a significant amount to man-made climate change. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has estimated that livestock is responsible for at least 14.5% of greenhouse gases being released worldwide. With numbers like that, conventional wisdom holds that a diet containing meat isn't compatible with climate change activism.
With our unconventional operation, we weren't convinced that was the full story; but, then again, we're not scientists. Luckily, there are some scientists out there interested in this question as well.
White Oak Pastures is a multifaceted regenerative farm raising ten different species for meat, with cattle and poultry as the largest in number. Only 55% of the cow is made up of cuts that are marketable. Because we are committed to adhering to our no-waste tenet, we were motivated to find ways in which to use the parts of the animals that aren’t consumed. Jacqueline DeWitt, our composting manager, explains the aspects of our composting program:
“In our system, we render fat from the cattle to make soaps and salves, sell trim to processors, tan hides, make pet chews, and feed our guardian dogs. Even after all of these measures are taken to use all parts, there are still 4 million pounds of animal remains each year that we can not process or use. So, we do the next best thing: We...
Organic Garden Manager, Bilal Sarwari, brings a mindfulness for biodiversity and environmental stewardship to our vegetable production. Our gardens provide local, organic produce to our on-farm restaurant, farm staff, and General Store customers. Bilal offers an in-depth explanation of some of the ways he encourages biodiversity and sustainability in his daily garden management.
We use animal impact daily to improve the health of our soils and forage. However, we also use our livestock as landscapers. We frequently use our goat herd to clear shrubbery from vacant lots in downtown Bluffton. If you have visited the farm store, you’ve likely driven by our goats hard at work. This March however, we have been busy with and excited to used our cattle to help clear some of our newly acquired land.
During this month, our cattle moved through the pecan orchard and several of our new, overgrown vacant lots. They grazed what they could, but we insured they had adequate nutrition by supplementing them with our high quality, organic haylage. The more woody and fibrous plant matter which cattle are not evolved to digest- they viewed as a playground. Our cattle clearly...
As we kick off the Fall season of our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, we are excited to introduce you to one of our organic garden managers, Mary Bruce! We love the way Mary involves herself in so many different functions at White Oak Pastures: she’s also a leather craftswoman, a biodiesel chemist, and she oversees our pastured rabbit and honeybee programs. She is smart, engaged, and always has great ideas for making improvements on the farm. Meet Mary, and catch up on what she’s up to this Fall!