Three years ago when I first met Carlton Jones (of Carlton&Jody), a 100% grass fed Angus Cattle Farmer near Seaford Delaware, he told me several interesting things. He said that he changed from a corn and chicken CAFO farmer to a grass fed cattle and pastured chicken farmer because he was now producing healthy food and more importantly a much improved legacy to leave his son and young grandson. He also said, with that Carlton twinkle in his eye, that he had a formal education in these matters having graduated from BYU. He quickly added “Barn Yard University”. Carlton then in his early seventies also said there were contributing factors: he was having a difficult time going into the ammonia feces atmosphere of his CAFO chicken house causing him respiratory illness. He also had a concern about feed additives including antibiotics. But his major concern:

Was it possible for his 100 head of Angus cattle plus pastured chicken and eggs to generate sufficient return for his son and grandson to continue his legacy? Over the last few years we have visited the Carlton’s to pick up eggs, hamburger, beef cuts and chickens if available. I believe we have become friends.

This winter I thought not so much of Carlton but of the cattle. You see Carlton has this theory I am sure learned at his University, that cattle, particularly those with roots in Eastern Colorado, belong outside and are healthier outside with the winter protection of wind breaking hay bales only. He claims that this concept produces less snotty noses an indicator of poor health in cattle. And so I said to myself while freezing in sunny Florida what has happen to Carlton and his cattle under Al Gore’s global warming when blizzard conditions dominated Delmarva.

Not to worry. Both Carlton and the cattle survived but not after some weight loss, the cattle not Carlton, and the extensive use of diesel fuel used to plough the roads but more importantly to create snow wind breaks and to assure that the cattle had plenty of grass feed and access to water.

But what about the real issue here? Will Carlton’s son and grandson be able to carry on?

The jury is still out. You can help by demanding only 100% grass fed meat products for your meals and more importantly for the many reasons cited here avoid CAFO produced products. You will not only help Carlton and Jody but you will rescue our soil, our water and our air assets.

As we were about to leave with Anne worried that we were taking up too much of Carlton’s time, he said come on down here I want to show you something. I followed Carlton down the Lane to a mud hole created by equipment wheels. He said proudly look at the worms in our soil. More on the significance of worms in soil and the cost of grassfed products in upcoming posts.



  1. Wells Hively Says:

    Very nice. Have you read Joel Salatin’s book “You Can Farm?”

  2. kerstis Says:

    We have visited with Joel Salatin and we were picking up product from Polyface in Annapolis every Saturday for a time. Some of the people who we delivered for are still very interested in this food others seem to have backed off at least publicly. This is a very difficult situation in our area where many industrial producers, in particular chicken producers, are as one lady put it pillars of our community. What does one do when finding out that a respected neighbor is producing such a destructive product. For many the answer is to ignore the problem and kill the messenger

  3. Wells Hively Says:

    Does anybody in your neighborhood raise pastured chickens? Do they work together at all?

  4. kerstis Says:

    We have 3 within 50 miles. However they all quit production in winter. Processing is problematic. Cleo Braver who is on our Board is working on a project to open an animal processing facility in our area. This facility will only process grassfed pastured raised product. This project has the land but needs funding. Any funding sources should be brought to Cleo’s attention. I believe more farmers would do pasture raised if processing were available.

  5. Wells Hively Says:

    I should think it would be possible to design a portable processing facility, about the size of an 18 wheeler, that would satisfy all the standards and be able to follow the seasons. Is this being done?

    • kerstis Says:

      Yes! the State of Kentucky working with Heiffer International did just that. I have not heard an update on how this is working. Eli Reif a pasture chicken grower near State College in Pennsylvania has developed a small portable chicken processing unit that fit on a car trailer. He also builds the stainless steel kill cones, scalders and automatic feather pluckers used in processing.

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