Sunday, April 1, 2012

A3 Farms, Adventures in Alternative Agriculture

About 50 acres in Melrose, Florida. It is almost entirely in pasture. The grass is mostly Bahia with some Bermuda mixed in and is very well established.

If you dig through the turf, it's beach sand clear to China.

As a result, we can only raise row crops in well amended garden plots. Not too much of this has been done so far.

This photo is the front of the main house taken from the road at the beginning of our driveway.
 We moved to this small farm in May of 2004 and we have grown this farm into a good little business. The farm was run for quite a number of years as a cow calf operation. The guy we bought it from had 20 mama cows and a bull. It had wonderful fences and was cross fenced into three separate paddocks. Several water tanks were in place. It had a pole barn, a two car size carport type building for equipment storage, and a twelve by twenty four workshop.

Jim's grandfather was a "Real Farmer". He had a large farm in south central Minnesota. By most any standards he was successful. Jim's uncle took over the farm eventually and his cousin still runs it.

Jim's father was a "Gentleman Farmer". He was a teacher by trade, but they had a 392 acre cow calf operation where his brother and he worked. Guess you could say this was his pop's hobby. During these years Jim also worked for the Vet, riding along on farm calls. He basically held down the critters while the vet did terrible things to them.

Now I,  Amy,  never grew up on or around a farm.  I am an "Air Force" brat and consider myself as growing up as a "suburb girl" and never...ever...thought I would be living and working on a farm.  And in the time we have lived here, I have learned about all the hardships along with the joys of farming/ranching.  I  "retired" in May of 2010 from my  full time retail career and am now part owner and full time farmer/rancher of A3Farms and LOVE it.

The photo below is a google earth aerial photo of our small farm. The long thin rectangle in the center is the part of the land we own, just under twenty acres. The two open pastures on the left are something like twelve acres that belongs to my neighbor, with whom we have an agreement that lets our sheep graze it. The odd shaped area on the right is about 15 acres that belongs to a different neighbor. We rent this land.

So far, we tried sheep, cattle, poultry, and a very small amount of gardening.

We used to call this "Adventures in Amateur Agriculture" because when this all started it was supposed to be a hobby. We have been doing this for over 6 years now and since it is no longer Amateur and is a real business, the A3 stands for "Adventures in Alternative Agriculture".

Whatever it is called, it still surprises us how much we enjoy this. 

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