Kathy McCune is a livestock farmer, life long animal lover and website creator and author. She and her husband own and operate a grass based family farm in Ohio.
My Work Story
We milked cows for 15 years starting in 1997. We milked Jerseys mostly, but were always willing to consider another breed’s attributes. Even so, we stuck mainly Jersey, they are wonderful little cows.
As far as milking for a living goes, love the cows, hate the senseless bureaucratic stuff. We decide to go with sheep, selling finished lambs as the main income as of 2015. We had always kept a small flock of sheep around, so sheep weren’t a new enterprise, just now the main focus.
It took a while to build up to the numbers we needed, so for nearly two years I had a job, actually two jobs, in town. That was enough time to show me I definitely don’t want to be going to town everyday. Even if I could find a job I enjoyed, my heart is not in it. My heart, along with my continuing interest, passion and focus is on the farm.
Now we have 250 commercial ewes as the main income producer on the farm. The second biggest enterprise for us is not livestock, it’s garlic. We raise around 7,000 garlic bulbs to sell at a local produce auction.
In addition to the sheep we also have our family cow, Aleene, ducks, geese, chickens, guineas, pigeons, and a few cattle, goats and pigs. Numbers for this group, (except for Aleene!) vary quite a bit depending upon season and market prices.
I’m hoping to help people who are wanting to get started with livestock, from chickens to cattle, have the confidence and the information they need to get going and add farm animals to their lives. There are opportunities everywhere I look for more animals to be integrated into our area, and most areas I’ve been to.
I believe people want to know where their food comes from and that it is treated well, plant or animal. True, not everyone wants to raise their own meat or vegetables, but everyone wants to have the information to make intelligent choices about how they spend their money.
I believe that animals can be put into nearly any landscape to add value to the area and get started rebuilding the soil. In all seriousness, I look at the grass that is beside the highway and think wow that’s a lot of grass that the sheep, cattle, whatever livestock, could be eating and the county is just mowing it!
Animals, especially livestock, have been removed from our daily lives. This is a loss for us, as individuals and as a culture, and a loss for the animals, as well, since it opens the door for misunderstandings and misinformation.
What am I trying to do here? I want people to be informed and make their own decisions. Get the information, from multiple preferably opposing sources, look into this and figure it out.
Then and here’s the biggie, do something about it. Chose to purchase your meat or vegetables from a farm that is doing what you think is right. Maybe even start raising your own animals!
100 years ago all this livestock and vegetable stuff was common knowledge. I’m hoping that this site will help people make livestock husbandry and being informed of the source of your food common knowledge again.
My Personal Story
I’m a die hard animal lover and I’ve lived in Ohio all of my life. Growing up I was always the one to sneak the puppy into the house (no dogs in the house) and have other small amounts of animals around that I just had to have, rabbits, lambs and pigs for the fair, a horse, and of course a variety of dogs and cats!
I’ve been deeply interested in animals, especially farm animals for as long as I can remember. While I did grow up on a small grain farm, my parents both had jobs and were not really animal people, that was just me.
I was very involved in agricultural education classes in high school and attended an agricultural college for two years, where I met Jason. Crazy that we lived only 30 minutes or so away growing up but had to go to college 3 hours away to meet!
We have two kids, who are both adults now, yikes! Our daughter is married, lives about 20 minutes away and is now a mom and our son has his first full time job as a mechanic for a local tractor and implement dealership.
The only “kids” we have around during the day are some baby goats (they have a knack for making themselves known) and the farm dogs, Sally, Fara and Wink!
I am always up for trying our a “new” breed and love the idea of specialist genetics for an area. Over the years, we have had a variety of breeds of most species of our livestock. I love the possibilities! (So far, the “best breed” is the high quality cross we select for based on our needs.)
I love the gains with livestock. By using livestock regeneratively, you can improve your life, the life of the animals, the life of the immediate environment (your land) and the life of the extended environment (neighbors, friends, etc.). That’ a whole lot of gain, all with in my and your reach. What’s not to love?