Farming is notoriously difficult. As soon as you think you have mastered a situation, everything changes. 

We learned this early on in our first season. We bought a beautiful flock of Clun Forest sheep known for their thriftiness, hardiness, and great taste. We rotated them through our pastures and planned to cut and store hay for them in the winter.

Mother Nature had other plans. Drought reduced our available forage and made quality local hay hard to find and very expensive. We realized that this was likely to be the new normal as drought continues across the region,  so we retrofitted a section of an old barn into our new sprout factory.

We now keep local wheat and sunflower seeds on hand at all times so that we can sprout food as needed for the animals. The pigs, chickens, turkeys, and sheep all love the sprouts and seem to benefit from its nutritional value and high digestibility.

We used to get our barley seed out of the waste stream, using barley that has been rejected by Coors Brewery for it's too high protein content (bad for brewing- great for animals). We have switched to wheat as it has become harder and harder to find "clean conventional" barley. More and more farmers are spraying with pesticides and it gets harder and harder to find "clean" food. We are no longer very interested in terms like organic which rule out worst practices while having nothing to do with best practices but insist on having clean food that has not been sprayed with chemicals as they destroy biological life. 

The Factory