THE FIND A WAY
After twenty five years of moving from military base to base both at home and abroad, we, Beth and Brian Duffy, returned very near to the farms where Beth’s parents were both raised in southeastern Ohio. We purchased an 80 acre older homestead in Meigs County Ohio, near the small college town of Athens Ohio.
Our beginning flock of four has now grown to over fifty healthy sheep who produce our delicious grass-fed lamb. Additionally, we offer free-range stewing hens and eggs. What once began as a place to “get away from it all” has become an opportunity to restore the land and offer healthy food to our community.
We set out to find an out-of-the-way place where we could enjoy the peace and quiet of country life and ultimately make our home. We wanted a place where our children and grandchildren would be able to enjoy the outdoors as we always had as a family, while being able to put down long awaited roots. Shortly after buying our farm a friend gave us the book titled, “You Can Farm,” by Joel Salatin, which got us thinking that small scale farming was something we wanted to do.
In May of 2007, we took a tour of Salatin’s farm, Polyface Farms, to see his operation first hand. For six hours we listened to Joel Salatin explain the low-cost and practical ways his family farm operates. Beth commented that it reminded her of how her grandparents farmed before industrial agriculture became the norm. It was a day that would change our lives. We left Polyface Farms knowing that not only were we making major career changes, but we were making a lifestyle change as well. Immediately, we began putting our plan together. We were now thinking about our future in a completely different way.
While the Salatin visit gave us a kick-start, our real foundational knowledge came from becoming members of the Athens County Grazing Council. Here, we began learning about grazing practices from both local farmers and an exceptionally knowledgeable agriculture extension educator and his wife. This experience was invaluable. Since the learning environment was on site we were able to see many farms, learn about management and grazing practices as well as hear the thinking involved in the development of a variety of hands-on systems. The folks in the council quickly became our mentors and provided us with the encouragement to get our farm off the ground and continue to provide support to this day.