Minnesota Ag in the Classroom has partnered with Midwest Dairy to host 5 virtual field trips to celebrate Farm to School month. We want to meet farmers who are providing food that many students get to eat in their school cafeterias and food service programs.
Recently we visited with Jessica & Peter Desens own Goldenrust Farm near Eyota, MN (Check out the virtual field trip here!). Goldenrust Farm is 150 acres large and on it the Desens raise beef cattle, feeder pigs, sheep and lambs and a few chickens. They also grow corn, alfalfa, and oats to use as food to feed all of their animals.
Jessica is a 5th generation farmer and loves teaching kids about where their food comes from.
One of the neat things that Goldenrust Farm does is practice rotational grazing which makes sure that the grass that the cattle eats does not get too short. That helps to ensure that the soil does not erode, and the cattle get better nutrition by eating healthier grass. Jessica and Peter have also planted over 100 trees on their farm since they first bought it.
The cattle that are raised on the farm do not have names but are identified by ear tags that have numbers. The first number signifies the year they were born, and the second number signifies the order in which it was born. So, if the first number was an 8 that means the year it was born was 2018. Then if the next number is a 1 that means it was the first calf born that year. Having numbers helps Jessica and Peter keep track of when their cattle got their vaccinations and helps measure their growth and to make sure they are healthy.
The sheep that Goldenrust raise are for meat. Sheep eat mostly grass hay and a corn protein mix. They love corn! It is like candy to them. Mother sheep are called ewes. Every year each ewe will have between 1 and 3 lambs.
Another fun animal that lives at Goldenrust Farm is Red the Llama. Red’s job is to protect the sheep from predators like coyotes. When the sheep are threatened Red will gather them all together in the barn and keep watch, just like a babysitter!
Some of the meat that comes from the cattle Jessica and Peter raise gets made into hotdogs and hamburgers to feed the students at local schools. Did you know that one steer can make 3,500 hotdogs! Goldenrust Farm is proud to raise healthy animals that feed hungry kids!