AGRICULTURE

Kansas Pig Farmers

Kansas Pig Farmers

Meet Craig and Amy Good, Kansas pig farmers.

Craig and Amy have been raising hogs, cattle, and growing crops on their land for decades. Located near Manhattan, Kansas (aka “The Little Apple”), Craig and Amy have developed a niche market that sells high-quality pork to restaurants from San Francisco to the Big Apple and everywhere in-between.

From the moment Amy invited me into their home, I knew . . . 

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Meet a Farmer - Kansas Sheep Farmer

Meet a Farmer - Kansas Sheep Farmer

This is a blog series where I will be introducing the reader (that's you!) to farmers who grow the food you eat and the clothes you wear. Each farmer lets me into their home for an afternoon to sit down and talk about what farming means to them. I record the conversations, take a few pictures, and leave with an ever-growing appreciation for the American Farmer and Rancher. 

Let me introduce you to Deb, a Kansas sheep farmer

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Photographs of a Kansas Farmer

Photographs of a Kansas Farmer

When I first set out to photograph America's farmers, I wanted to write about my experience with the hard-working life-blood of our country. But could my words ever really accurately depict their voice? How could I give America a glimpse into the lives of farmers and ranchers with my words? I couldn't. 

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What Does Compassionately Raised Mean?

Many people are far removed from agriculture and view the relationship between the farmer and animal as distant one. That couldn't be further from the truth. Agriculture revolves around the compassion and connection between the farmer and the animal, a commitment to sustainability and humane practices. It's an age old connection that continues to this day, although usually far removed from daily life of the urban and suburban consumer. The only thing standing in between this gap is experience, a voice, or an image. 

I think that is the biggest thing that concerns me about the rhetorically-driven advertisements of chains like Chipotle or Panera bread; without human experience driving your decisions, you are left to trust the merits of the content creator. When the purpose of the content creator is to increase sales through product differentiation there could be an inherent problem. 

So please let me introduce you to farmers you might not hear about in media or advertisements who represent the vast majority of US farmers and ranchers. 

 Meet Manuel. He's a hard-working and compassionate dairy worker here in the United States. He daily monitors all the cattle in the herd to make sure they are healthy and is present for nearly every birth at the farm. There is a quiet joy he portrays when slowing down his day to make sure that each newborn calf is fed. You can see the compassionate and tender touch and heart he has for his animals.   When Manuel sees a sick calf or a sick cow, he probably isn't concerned about the Chipotle and Panera advertisements that demonize the use of antibiotics. Instead, he makes note of the cattle, observes them, and uses antibiotics as needed to make sure the cattle are healthy and comfortable. When a cow is given antibiotics, she is isolated from the rest of the herd to prevent the spread of any sickness but also to prevent her milk from getting into the food supply. Instead, she is milked separately, and her milk is given to the newborn calves like the one you see above.  The sick cow is monitored and treated daily. Her milk is tested and when she is clear according to USDA standards, she is put back in with the other herd to continue producing high quality and safe milk. 

Meet Manuel. He's a hard-working and compassionate dairy worker here in the United States. He daily monitors all the cattle in the herd to make sure they are healthy and is present for nearly every birth at the farm. There is a quiet joy he portrays when slowing down his day to make sure that each newborn calf is fed. You can see the compassionate and tender touch and heart he has for his animals. 

When Manuel sees a sick calf or a sick cow, he probably isn't concerned about the Chipotle and Panera advertisements that demonize the use of antibiotics. Instead, he makes note of the cattle, observes them, and uses antibiotics as needed to make sure the cattle are healthy and comfortable. When a cow is given antibiotics, she is isolated from the rest of the herd to prevent the spread of any sickness but also to prevent her milk from getting into the food supply. Instead, she is milked separately, and her milk is given to the newborn calves like the one you see above.

The sick cow is monitored and treated daily. Her milk is tested and when she is clear according to USDA standards, she is put back in with the other herd to continue producing high quality and safe milk. 

 Perhaps one of the oldest photographs I still have, this image is of a rancher who has a family history of raising his beef cattle while improving pasture lands. His family has installed watering systems that are safe and beneficial to wildlife in the area, including migratory birds. He weekly rides his pastures with his horse to monitor grazing patterns and herd health. He described himself not only as a rancher, but as a steward of the land.   Unlike what people may have you believe, his ranching doesn't hurt the land...it improves it for not only his cattle but for the local fauna as well.  The Bureau of Land Management states that proper grazing of cattle on public and private land are vital to preventing severe wildfires. 

Perhaps one of the oldest photographs I still have, this image is of a rancher who has a family history of raising his beef cattle while improving pasture lands. His family has installed watering systems that are safe and beneficial to wildlife in the area, including migratory birds. He weekly rides his pastures with his horse to monitor grazing patterns and herd health. He described himself not only as a rancher, but as a steward of the land. 

Unlike what people may have you believe, his ranching doesn't hurt the land...it improves it for not only his cattle but for the local fauna as well.  The Bureau of Land Management states that proper grazing of cattle on public and private land are vital to preventing severe wildfires. 

 This is also one of the oldest photographs I have from my work in California. This is Mary, a tender-hearted dairy woman out of the Central Valley of California. She was constantly in the nursery of her newborn calves making sure they were healthy and happy. In this photo, she brought up a bucket and just sat down to be with the calves. The calves were just as eager to be near this tender-hearted woman. This is the face of the dairy farmer - wise, experienced, kind, and caring. 

This is also one of the oldest photographs I have from my work in California. This is Mary, a tender-hearted dairy woman out of the Central Valley of California. She was constantly in the nursery of her newborn calves making sure they were healthy and happy. In this photo, she brought up a bucket and just sat down to be with the calves. The calves were just as eager to be near this tender-hearted woman. This is the face of the dairy farmer - wise, experienced, kind, and caring. 

Thank you for reading. I always look forward to a great discussion about the hard working American farming and ranching families. 

Is Grazing on Public Land Good for the Environment? Ranch Photographer

The American rancher does more than raise cattle

   He is: a steward of the land, a conservationist at heart, and a manager of the range; for under his careful supervision, the cattle benefit from the land and the land benefits from the cattle, and man benefits from both. I photographed this cattle rancher as he tended to the grazing pastures while I hiked to the iconic Maroon Bells.

He is: a steward of the land, a conservationist at heart, and a manager of the range; for under his careful supervision, the cattle benefit from the land and the land benefits from the cattle, and man benefits from both. I photographed this cattle rancher as he tended to the grazing pastures while I hiked to the iconic Maroon Bells.

Grazing on public lands has been in the news recently for reasons unrelated to the environment. However, the sustainability of cattle operations is always a hot topic. Is grazing on public lands good for the environment?

According to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), cattle grazing on public lands can positively impact the ecosystem by

  • Increasing the viability and number of native perennial grasses
  • Decreasing the amount of invasive plant species
  • Reducing the severity of wildfires
  • Supporting healthy watersheds and wildlife habitats
  • Supporting carbon sequestration

Livestock grazing on public lands helps maintain the private ranches that, in turn, preserve the open spaces that have helped write the West’s history and will continue to shape this region’s character in the years to come (http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/grazing.html)

Cattle (and sheep) grazing on public and private lands is a good thing. Bison, elk, and numerous deer once roamed the countryside and naturally grazed perennial grasses and fertilized the soil along the way. The bison are gone, but thoughtful and responsible grazing mimics this natural process all while creating a nutritious and environmentally-conscious product. 

Most ranchers now practice rotational grazing where they divide their pasture into several "cells" and closely monitor the foraging habits of their cattle. Once the perennial grasses have been eaten down once, the cattle move on to the next pasture thereby allowing the old cell to rest and be restored. 

Scott Stebner is an agricultural photographer and videographer based out of the mid-west. To contact Scott, click HERE

The Clean Dirt Farm - Sterling, Colorado Agriculture Photography


Well here comes the Clean Dirt Farm ,  a beautiful company with sustainable roots in Millet Production, specifically Organic Millet. Now many people may not know what Millet is or see it only limited to Bird Seed. However, Millet is naturally Glutten Free, so it’s a super healthy choice.The Clean Dirt Farm cleans and processes the Millet that farmers grow and ships it out to places like Whole Foods Market and countries all over the world.All of this in little ol Sterling, CO

So when the kind folks at the Clean Dirt Farm called me up to help them with a rebranding campaign and doing a few corporate type shots, I couldn’t wait!

It was a true blessing to be on this assignment, and I always feel at home when I can use photography and my passion for agriculture in one shoot

milletfarmer
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Colorado Millet Farm
Millet Production
Red Millet
Colorado millet farmers