- Sugar Mountain Farm
Sugar Mountain Farm is a
farmlocated in the mountains of rural West Topsham, Vermont, United States, and run by Walter Jeffries and his family. The farm uses what are now considered unconventional methods but in past centuries would often have been considered traditional. Sugar Mtn Farm has the goal of sustainable, humane, family friendly agricultureon a human scale. This farm is where Jeffries developed and put into practice many of his most innovative and significant agricultural methods for raising livestock year round in the northern climate without the high petroleum or grain inputs normally associated with pigs and chickens. Some of his novel techniques and approaches cover feeding pastureand hayto pigs, working on a small family accessible scale, direct-marketing of meatsto consumers, local stores and chefs, simple chain and bucket hay Balerhandling for round bales, Managed intensive grazingadaptations and utilizing the labor of the animals for planting, harvest and manuredistribution which makes his farm a sustainable system rather than typical modern conventional confinement factory farming.
Many simple but effective low cost, low input tools and techniques have been invented by Jeffries at Sugar Mountain Farm and shared through his writings in articles both in print and on the web. One example is the chain grabber for
Balerround bales. Jeffries has written many articles online and in print detailing the simple methods, ways and stories from their family farm. A major focus of Sugar Mountain Farms is educating other farmers and small livestock producers to help them work with low input methods of agriculture. Many of these articles are available for free on Jeffries [http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/ blog] . Sugar Mountain Farm has been featured in a number of articles in both national and [http://www.7dvt.com/2008/little-piggie-stayed-home state] newspapers and magazines as exemplary sustainable agriculture and was recently chosen as a [http://sugarmtnfarm.com/blog/2008/03/card-from-gallo-family.html finalist] in the Gallo Family [http://www.gallosonoma.com/goldmedal/home.htm Gold Medel Awards] contest.
Sugar Mountain Farm is notable in that many techniques for raising pigs on pasture without the need for grain supplements have been developed at the farm. In today's high inputs industrial farming this is an important issue as it allows people to raise pigs lower petroleum dependence and graze pigs much like sheep and cattle are grazed. Sugar Mountain Farm has also done a great deal of research through successive generations of pigs into raising boars without castration and demystifying boar taint. By raising pigs without the need for interventions like boar castration, no tail clipping, no teeth clipping and no farrowing or gestation crating Sugar Mountain Farm has demonstrated that the welfare of the animals can be improved over the industry practices and better than traditional practices even on small farms.
Jeffries bases his farm principles of observations on animals' activities, traditional farming methods from past centuries and applying scientific process. Animals are moved frequently among paddocks to maximize the growth and harvest of pasture during the short warm period of the northern climate. Rotation and chickens are put in the original pasture to manage insects. The
sheepand pigs graze the grass and leave enriching manure that poultrypick through while also eating the more tender grass. In the winter the animals shelter in open dens and sheds using deep bedding of hay to replace the pasture providing protection from the cold and winds. Sheep do major brush clearing, pigs do the work of tilling, chickens weed and remove insect pests, dogs do guardian and herding duty.
Sugar Mountain Farm is
Certified Naturally Grownwhich provides certification similar to and beyond the [http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/NOP/NOPhome.html USDA Organic] standards for both humane animal treatment and production.
* [http://SugarMtnFarm.com/ Sugar Mountain Farm Official Web Site]
* [http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/ Sugar Mountain Farm Blog]
* [http://youtube.com/user/pubwvj Videos from Sugar Mtn Farm]
* [http://groups.yahoo.com/group/homesteadhogs Homestead Hogs Forum]
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