Last Fall Roberto planted a bed of wheat as an experiment—I wanted to see how easily we could grow it. In the long term, I have always wanted to grow all the feed for the chickens. We don’t have enough land to raise feed for all the chickens, so it was one of those issues that I put on the back burner... until last week when I was discussing our feed with the miller, Chris (www.modestomilling.com). The feed cost has risen 23% in the last month, due in part to an acute shortage of organic soybeans. There are now no organic soybeans available in this country, so all are being imported from China. I was horrified. Here we are producing local eggs, and some part of their feed comes from China! Chris assures me that “The Feds” are testing every delivery, but I feel now more than ever that I have to source our feed locally. I contacted my friend Chip, a fifth-generation California farmer working his family’s land near Arbuckle. He has agreed to grow and store the feed for us. Chip will plant for us in November and harvest next June. He is certified organic and has a 100-ton bin to safely store the grain for us. I now have to source some equipment to clean and sort the wheat from the chaff. This is not an expense I had expected, but we have some time.
Until this year’s August harvest our feed choices are organic soybeans from China or domestic GMO soybeans. I will be talking with Chris at the mill later this week to investigate short-term options, which are limited because everyone is in the same boat. All organic dairies, egg operations and alike now have the same problem as we do.
To be sustainable we have to use locally-grown feed, and Arbuckle is 50 miles north of the farm. I welcome your comments and appreciate your understanding and support while we work through this issue. I will be writing more about this later Nigel