Farming philosophy

Intensive grazing:
We like to think that farms like ours offer an alternative to a food system that is overly centralized and overly dependent on fossil fuels.  Our high-quality soils and ample rain allow us to grow great pasture, turning the sun's energy into abundant and rich food for grazing animals.  Those animals harvest that food for us at low cost and low impact to the environment, efficiently recycling nutrients around the farm while producing a healthy, premium-quality food product for discriminating humans.
We believe that ruminants such as sheep are healthiest when eating the diet they evolved for, which is pasture.  On occasion in the past we have supplemented with grain, when we felt the available pasture or hay was inadequate, but as we get better at our management we find less and less need to do so.
We follow organic practices and would prefer to market all our products as organic.  We believe strongly that consumers need a label they can trust that tells them key things about the products they buy.  "Certified organic" is the only existing third-party verified label that confirms that no GMOs are involved, no sewage sludge has been applied, and that no synthetic pesticides have been used.  All of our tillable land is currently certified organic by NOFA-NY, and in the past when we grew vegetables for sale they were certified organic.
Our lamb, however, is not currently certified organic.  The primary reason is that there is NO USDA-inspected, certified organic slaughterhouse facility available to us in New York state.  So, even if we were to do everything right up to the point of slaughter, we would not be able to market our meat as "organic". 
Organic certification for livestock also raises some philosophical issues.  For one: A certified organic animal that gets sick must be treated, including with antibiotics, for the welfare of the animal.  However, once treated with antibiotics, that animal can never be used for certified organic production.   While we absolutely reject the routine use of antibiotics for disease prevention and growth promotion, we're philosophically not persuaded that the organic rule strikes the right balance; it certainly increases the cost of producing organic meat and dairy products.   Since we are not certified organic, we will use antibiotics in emergency situations, but will of course never sell meat from an animal until after the label-required withdrawal period.
The Consumer/Producer relationship:
We believe that consumers and producers have a shared concern about the health and environmental impacts of agriculture, and that the best way to address those concerns is through an ongoing, open and respectful dialogue .  And that consumers who care about where their food comes from need to start from the premise that the future of agriculture depends on farmers being able to make a decent living producing healthy, high-quality food.
Feel free to contact us (actually, dropping the royal "we" for the moment, you can contact me, Jim Manning!) if you ever have any questions or comments about our production practices and philosophies.