Thousand Hills Farm
The ability to provide customer choice is important. Buying beef by the quarter, half, or whole is a very customized process. The best part is that the customer gets to choose how they want the butcher to prepare the product. We use a reputable, licensed, knowledgeable, and experienced butcher. As a customer, if you have a preferred butcher, we are eager to discuss how we can get our grassfed beef to your preferred butcher.
Uncompromising principles...headed back toward the basics...
Use natural mineral sources for supplements. No commercial synthetic minerals are used. While expensive, we use a natural sea-kelp mineral source to supplement for regional soil deficiencies, this natural mineral has a great micro-nutrient package as well. This type of mineral, in free-choice form, allows a cow to self-regulate her intake based on her body's needs. Our thought process is that if we take care of the little things too, it will reduce the likelihood of any big problems from occurring.
Provide high-quality grass forage in pasture, hay, or ensiled forms throughout the year. Lactating cows pass on the high-quality nutrition to their calves, through their milk. Cows are better able to maintain their body condition even while lactating' because her nutrient needs are being met with nutrients in more digestible forms. We rely heavily on sorghum-sudangrass and other summer annuals as we rotate cover crops in for winter graze also. We strive to have pastures full of legumes and grasses and implement practices to ensure long-term pasture improvement. We have implemented rotational grazing on most of our pastures and some of the annual forage fields...this allows us to allow the cow to "work for us" by tightening the consumption-manure nutrient cycle which increases efficiency.
Select brood-cows with good temperament. Cows with less stress are more productive and manageable. Designated lead-cows are groomed from within the herd based on temperament and curiosity level. Lead-cows are used to lead the herd towards the next pasture, through gates, into corrals, etc.
Vaccinate only on a schedule recommended by the vet. Over- vaccinating is costly and adds additional stress to the animal.
Use absolutely no hormones or antibiotics on brood cows or cattle planned to go to the butcher. The new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) is long overdue in our opinion. Antibiotic use in a feed for performance purposes has been a real stewardship issue for cattle confinement operations. The only way to know...is to grow your own grass-based feed or obtain it from a trusted and reliable source.
Feed absolutely no grain, corn silage, or chicken litter. We want to acknowledge that the grain-fed market has an important role in meeting consumer need for cheap, readily-available, feedlot-finished beef. This practice started shortly after the 1900s when grain surpluses became available as a result of mechanized farming. Some argue that feeding corn silage is a grass-based diet because corn is inherently a grass. If the corn were harvested or grazed at the pre-grain stage, we would agree; however, WE CHOOSE to not entertain the corn silage discussion at all because most modern corn production methods have evolved into a discussion of biotech and GMO traits...by sticking with annual and perennial forage grasses and legumes, we are steering way clear of that entire discussion on our farm. And chicken litter...seriously? Who ever thought that it was a good idea to put that into cattle feed?
Keep things simple and basic, but give attention to details.
for every beast of the forest is mine and the cattle on a thousand hills. Ps. 50:10
Member: Virginia Forage and Grasslands Council (VFGC)
Member: Blue Ridge Cattlemens Association (BRCA)
Thousand Hills was initially established out of an equine operation farm which collectively encompassed riding lessons, hay, straw, wheat, ensiled forages, and grass-fed beef. In early 2010 talk began of splitting the grassfed herd into its own farm unit. To think that we initially started harvesting forages with a borrowed IH square baler, a 3pt wheel-rake, and a gifted NH haybine....
With much persistence more hay ground was put under lease; small grains were added, more pasture was leased, equipment was upgraded, and a split-herd was formed. The forming of "Thousand Hills Farm" is a commitment between the two brothers to combine the split-herd into one herd and move forward with direct grassfed beef sales, not commercial wholesaling. Recent expansion includes a small flock for pastured-eggs as a local-food-system addition to further consumer choice.
Here at the farm we use Angus-Hereford crossed-cows. This type of cattle is used because of four reasons. Foremost, crossbred cattle provide increased hybrid vigor. Secondly, having hereford traits help with body-condition maintenance during the heat of summer and docility. Thirdly, the angus traits are proven give better meat marbling and yield grade. We have started adding more red angus into the cowherd. Individually, both breeds are well-established and very popular at fairs and farm shows across the country. Due to breeding, most of our cattle are approximately 6/8 or more unregistered angus. We have started introducing red angus into the herd. In our field observations, it appears that red angus tolerate the heat, see less fly pressure, and are often more docile than their black angus counterparts. We rely heavily on rotational grazing as well as stored forages.
About the partners...Young by many standards, this is not to shorten the experience, expertise, and knowledge at Thousand Hills Farm. Personal, farm, and family experience along with active community volunteerism provide a recipe for success. We still grow some cereal grains to keep the forage fields in a healthy rotation, to ensure economic vitality, and availability of straw. We also sell some hay and ensiled forages to our neighbors. Between the brothers agricultural work experience includes work with modern beef cattle, crop, forage, and dairy operations.
Community and a "sense of community" is very important to us.
100% grassfed and finished beef from farm raised forages that perform!