Walker Farm – liv’n the life I love!

We are all concerned about where our food comes from. What quality of life did that pig or chicken or cow have? What type of food did it receive? I am a firm believer in the you are what you eat analogy.  Rarely do I  purchase meat that is produced by industrial agriculture – lack of taste and quality are the reasons. Nearly all the meat and most of the vegetables I consume are grown by me or sourced from trusted colleagues in the sustainable farm movement. Maybe you don’t  have the time or space to grow much on your own. Get on the Interweb or social media and research a local farmer who does. You can make great connections with like-minded folks and support those of us who try to farm in a sustainable way.

Restorative Agriculture – In 2002, we made the decision to move from growing alphalpha hay to permanent irrigated pasture. We planted Ciser Milk Vetch, a nitrogen fixing legume and a mixture of grasses with early, mid-season and late maturity. Seventeen years later, that pasture is still going strong, with no input of fertilizer – the vetch provides the nitrogen.  

Environmental Stewardship – In 2006, I completed one of the first Environmental Farm Plans in the MD of Willow Creek.  The EFP is a voluntary, Government of Alberta program to help identify potential risks on the farm and help prevent environmental compromise – particularly with riparian areas and ground water contamination.

In 2007, I isolated my riparian area along the Oldman river to eliminate grazing. No grazing has occurred there since 2007 and the Cottonwood forest is in excellent health. This is a voluntary loss of pasture with lots of cool shade . When fishing the river, I see endless miles of destroyed riparian zones, so I am proud of that little space of beautiful riverbank.

The EFP spotlighted my domestic well pit situation as a potential for ground water contamination. The pit has been removed and the pressure system moved above ground.

Dugouts on the property are fenced to prevent contamination by grazing livestock. Renewed my EFP in 2018. 

In 2014, I completed the education and was enrolled in the Verified Beef Production Plan, Canada’s beef on-farm safety program.

My broiler chickens are raised in a Humane Indoor environment, These birds have lots of access to fresh air and sunshine and room to run around. My chickens eat an enriched diet with fruit and vegetables, and green hay .

My cattle are not implanted with hormones – this results in a calf that is approximately 25 pounds lighter (at a calf price that averages $2.00/pound) but a calf that doesn’t have artificially elevated hormone levels. 

Pastures are rotated to allow a maximum rest period and allow native grasses to go to seed before being grazed.

2017 – Became the first woman on our Municipal Agricultural Service Board.

2018 – attended Southern Alberta Grazing School.

Maybe these are small things in the grand scheme of life, but they aren’t to me. These are things that matter and I will continue to do my best.

Feel free to contact me with your stories or questions on the future of agriculture.

Farmer Jan

 

Things that don’t “go bump in the night”

Veg with Ollas

Extreme drought on the prairies the past two summers. Experiment with ollas – underground clay water storage vessels. Amazing difference with those veggies like squash that are water guzzlers!

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Cute little brockle faced baby calf. He liked the camera.

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Mr. Coyote comes for a visit.