Bite-Sized: Small cattle make big impression


From Country World News
Via Energy Bulletin

Karl Falster and his wife Nancy own Falster Farm and Cattle, where they raise organic Miniature and standard Herefords, seven miles South of Winnsboro, in Wood County.

“Falster Mini Herefords look just like the white-faced cows you saw in the western movies of the 1950s,” Falster said. “The great taste of beef is really in that cow, our Falster Farm cows. If you want a pet, our cows are good for that too. But, our objective is to make cattle farming fun and profitable for our customers.”

Falster said the Miniature Herefords has been successful because they can be profitable, while still requiring less maintenance than a modern, or standard-sized, cow.

“For the average small farm, today’s standard size cows, well, they just aren’t a good fit,” Karl said. “And frankly, with the input resources necessary for the super-sized animals, the profit margin is down so low, and in our opinion, the beef taste is flat.

“Scientific research conducted at Texas A&M University indicates that two Miniature Hereford cows will consume less resources than the so-called standard cow by 15 percent, and produce upwards to 20 percent more delicious beef for your family, naturally marbled on a non-carcinogenic pasture,” added Falster.

When the drought hit in 2005, many of the Falster’s neighbors were forced to sell at distress prices, because of the high maintenance cost of their standard-size livestock.

“But, not us,” Falster said. “Our cows kept putting weight on in the marginal pasture we had. Their natural thrift is impressive. We sell our cattle Private Treaty and our sales kept right along — as strong as we needed. Buyers kept coming back to see us, because they were delighted and we have a good story to tell.”

One story Falster Farm is particularly excited about is their work to develop the Hershey cow.

“We are looking to line-breed for a thrifty, dual-purpose cow by combining the beef and dairy aspects into a smaller cow that is more attractive to our market niche,” he said. “A number of our prospective customers say they want a small cow that will produce a gallon or two of sweet milk a day, milking only once a day. Of course, a real friendly disposition is important too. Additionally, they want a beefy calf to eat if it is born a bull. We like the direction the Hershey project is going.”

The Falster Farm Miniature Registered Hereford sells at $4,000 for a yearling heifer, and $5,500 for a Herd Sire yearling prospect. The adult cows will average around $8,000 and Herd Sires in the $15,000 range. Falster said they have developed a good reputation at home, and abroad, as they have sold frozen embryos to customers in Europe, and Frozen Semen to New Zealand.”

Those buying animals for meat have options.

“We sell everything as live,” he said. “If a customer buys a hog, steer or goat, they buy them live from us. We can, and usually do, deliver to the processor for them, but they pick the meat up and pay whatever the custom fees may be.”

Falster Farm houses more than just cattle. Falster said their pigs, cattle (dairy and beef), chickens, ducks, and goats are all working together to make the whole farm work in harmony, naturally; controlling pests, parasites, weeds, and manuring (fertilization) of the land.

“In the strictest sense, we are dirt farmers,” he said. “When we are attracting and applying the resources, our dirt needs to be healthy, our grasses and herbs and vegetables are healthy — then our animals eat that grass, they gain their nutrition from that soil. Logically, we are eating that soil’s nutrient through that animal or vegetable or herb. Our process ensures that the food chain and life cycle remain of the earth, by the earth, and for the earth, which in turn rewards us with our health and prosperity naturally.

“I believe our all-natural cost inputs are much lower than the average beef farmer,” Falster said. “Perhaps the higher costs of any organic-styled food is not from inputs, but rather the small number of producers able to get into the distribution systems of the major chains. The absence of concentration on local support of local farmers is another factor. There are ways a local consumer can lower their market prices of nutrient-dense food, and that is buy on contract, or CSA.”
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To learn more about Falster Farms visit, www.falsterfarm.com
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