Sustainablity

When we think about sustainability we are thinking about future generations and the resources we leave them. We believe that what we do today is to serve not only our current needs but to ensure that future generations are better equipped to serve their needs as well. 

Environmental Stewardship: We believe that as stewards of the land we have a responsibility to preserve this vital resource to which we have been entrusted, the soil. Our primary focus is soil health. We have learned that a healthy soil improves organic matter, eliminates soil loss from erosion, increases animal habitats and reduces the need for fertilizers and pesticides.

Social Responsiblity: A cornerstone of Shepherd’s Grain is building mutually supportive relationships. We believe that a truly sustainable system must be transparent. We are all served better by greater access to information. A sustainable system is one that considers the needs of all members of the supply chain: those who grow the food, prepare the food and consume the food. 

Economic Stability: We believe that a fair and transparent pricing system ensures stability and predictability for the farmer. In turn, the consumer is guaranteed reasonable yet predictable pricing for supporting sustainable practices. Shepherd’s Grain promises a price based on the cost of production.  Our farmers are reasonably paid for their risks and innovations, without subsidy or price support. 

Direct Seeding

 

Soil Health

For countless millennia, Mother Nature has led the way for sustainable agriculture.  Mother Nature’s “no till” approach to farming has focused on building the health of the soil rather than depleting it.  Using this as our guide, our farms focus on soil health.  As our understanding of the soil continues to improve so do our Shepherd’s Grain farming practices, which encompass some basic principles:

  • There is more to “No Till” farming than meets the eye – Beneath the surface of the earth lies a complex system of microbes which are essential to complete the cycle of life.  These microbes break down the organic matter that is left behind and facilitate plant growth.  We at Shepherd’s Grain focus not only on the health of the plant we see but also on the health of those ever-important microbes.  In so doing, we reduce the need for fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Diversity is the key to vitality – Exclusivity does not exist in nature nor does it exist on our farms.  We know that soil thrives on a diverse diet, just like we do.  Our farms look at the rotation of corps that we grow as a diverse diet for the soil microbes that are so esse
    • Soil erosion is reduced –  Root structures and crop residue are left in place thereby virtually eliminating soil and nutrient runoff into streams and rivers.
    • Less fuel is burned – A significant reduction in the use of heavy farm equipment, reduces both greenhouse gases produced and petroleum consumed. 
    • Atmospheric CO2 is reduced – While tillage releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, No Till farming traps the carbon in the soil. This increases organic matter and builds a healthier ecosystem.  Greenhouse gases are captured and living creatures have a far more desirable habitat. 
    • Natural processes control pests and problems – By focusing on diverse rotations and a healthy soil, diseases and pests do not have a chance to thrive.  Chemical residue and the cost of production are significantly reduced.