From Local Farms: Tangle Ridge Ranch

KevinFrom Local Farms, From Local Farms - The Series, Lamb, Tangle Ridge Ranch8 Comments

Tangle Ridge Ranch is inspiring. Though about as young a couple as I’ve met farming to date and not having grown up with parents that farmed, Vicky and Shayne sport agriculture degrees and farm industry experience – and have chosen land stewardship rather than veterinary science as their path to raising healthy animals.

I’ve been waiting to see my first rotational grazing setup, and I’m still taken aback. It’s simple, sensible, practical, and effective – and it leaves me wondering why more farms aren’t set up this way. It’s about as good for land fertility as you can get, promotes biodiversity, is a quick farm chore [half hour every 2 days], and eliminates chores like manure shoveling/spreading, overgrazing of land, and feed handling and cost. I’m sure it has its cons, but that’s a pretty serious list of pros.

Citing capital and financing hurdles as the biggest obstacle to young folks getting into farming – banks want farming-parent collateral to approve financing of land, and aren’t interested in credentials or a well developed business plan – these two have found ways to make it work, are raising a young family, and a whole lot of little sheep families. They, once again, make me proud of the direction folks in my generation are taking farming.

8 Comments on “From Local Farms: Tangle Ridge Ranch”

  1. A Canadian Foodie

    Incredibly informative. What is their debt load, I wonder. None of my business, but as young University graduates, and young parents, who are clearly living their dream and making it work, it is a worry.
    Where do they sell their product and where is their farm? I guess I can google that.
    Missed your music!

  2. Debra Krause

    I’ve been looking for a great farm to buy lamb from and Tangle Ridge Ranch seems to be an excellent choice!
    Over the past 6months I’ve been snooping around the farmer’s markets and I haven’t gotten anywhere near the information on those farms as what you have here.
    Thank you for the lovely article! I’m now on their site… :)
    – Deb

  3. Kevin

    Valerie – I could be wrong here, but I’m not sure buying a quarter that ‘needs work’ [ie, vision and rebuilding] would be much more expensive than committing to a large urban home. They also had both of them off-farm until recently, with only one of them now off farm for supplemental income while the business grows. Hope that helps alleviate your concern! Contact them directly re: their whole lamb ordering, and the farm is near Thorsby.

    Debra – fantastic feedback. I feel for farmers at markets as it’s far tougher to inform consumers about what they do, especially when busy, than with video rolling and undivided attention at the farm. It’s why I do it, so I’m pleased you see value in it!!!

  4. Brooke

    Awesome video! I’m 24 years old and they are living my dream! Starting an organic, sustainable farm seems so far away from my reality right now, but knowing that people my age are making it happen gives me hope. I know it will happen for me some day :-)

  5. bruce king

    I think that the path of jumping onto the farm and expecting it to provide your families entire living is pretty difficult. What I’ve seen work is to either have your family finance the farm (the proverbial rich uncle) or to work off the farm and transition slowly over a number of years, with the off-farm income providing a cushion for the inevitable mishaps that happen with any new venture.

    Farming in the summer is easy. It’s painless. I’d like to see what they do in January.

  6. Shayne & Vicky Horn

    Hi all, thanks for all the really great comments. Just a little feedback from us…

    First of all, yes, Kevin is right about the cost of the farm. We are amazed sometimes at the prices of urban homes. We were willing to put some time and work into a farm where the yard and house in much need of upkeep and with that was able to acquire the land with it. We have been really careful to manage our costs and try to only invest in items/equipment that serve multi functions on the farm. And yes, we have supplemented the start up of our farm with off farm income the last three years. We are really proud of the fact that this year Shayne has now been able to be on the farm most of the time. He still has a one day a week part time job. Starting up a farm does require a great deal of capital however we consider this a big success to have one of us on the farm (almost) full time.

    Valerie & Debra – if your are interested in purchasing our lamb, just send me a quick email! would love to chat with you. All of our lamb is available in mid-November.

    Brooke – I wish you the best of luck! We need more young, sustainable farmers and I hope you can achieve your dream!

    Bruce – our winter chores are actually are easiest. We bale graze, meaning that in the fall, we place all of our bales out in rows out on pasture. Then we essentially follow the same concept as our summer rotational grazing – we use temporary electric fences to give the sheep access to one row of bales at a time. To reduce wastage, we have moveable metal bale feeders that go around the bales they have access to. We usually give them enough feed for one week at a time. So once a week, we move the electric fencing, move the bale feeders, cut the strings on the bales, and chores are done. Takes about 2hrs once a week. The beautiful thing about bale grazing is that the hay that gets lost on the ground, turns into amazing bedding for them, so we don’t have to provide them any straw or bedding. It also put great fertility back on our land. We usually put our bales on our pastures that could use some extra help. On a daily basis, we have to water them, however this year with our dugout full, we are looking forward to trying out our solar powered winter watering system! So that will eliminate the watering chore…That leaves just feeding the dog every day and having a walk through to check everyone.

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