Farming close to home

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Debbie Snapp
ECB Publishing, Inc.

John Todd, director of ranch operations for Madison Oaks Farm, has been in the cattle business much of his life, most recently in Colorado, but here locally, just over two years.
He was guest speaker for the April meeting of the Monticello Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce recently, talking about the operations of the Madison Oaks Farm.
After locating just the right property, east of the Aucilla River and north of Honey Lake Plantation, Madison Oaks Farm began clearing the land and purchasing cattle. Farm plans are to raise and process grass-fed, grass-finish beef cattle for inventory and marketing. The first calves arrived in October 2016 and the first harvest should be around the Fall of 2017. Supply and demand in this fast growing industry is key to cost efficiency so the changing market is closely monitored.
The farm employs a regular crew of local laborers, with more hands hired on when needed, including subcontractors. Special designed cattle pens are built and a variety of grasses are grown in the different pastures. The cattle are rotated to the different fields for a variety of feeding, making for a change in natural fertilizer. Cows can supply 15 to 20 pounds of manure a day. The lands do get a short rest but are soon tilled with cow and chicken manure, and a new grass is planted for the cattle to graze on.
The farm is humane handling certified and an official Bubba Burger location.
“The United States has the safest food supply in the world,” he adds. “There are a lot of regulations and checks to make sure.”