Who We Are & How We Got Here
We're Jane and Terry Levan.
Jane's a former city slicker who'd always dreamed of moving to the country.
Terry was raised on a farm in northern Illinois and majored in livestock nutrition while at university. However, he became discouraged and disheartened by the "new" methods of farming that he was being taught - methods that turned animals into commercial commodities with complete disregard to both the health of the animal and the quality and safety of the meat produced.
Although we both knew that our roots were in the land, we rejected the monoculture mega-farm that dominates the rural American landscape. If modern farming meant raising animals in cages or feedlots, pumping them full of chemicals and blanketing the earth with poison we didn't want to be any part of it.
In 1999, we purchased 20 acres approximately 50 miles from Austin and Bastrop. Shortly after we moved, we received a copy of Smithsonian magazine that featured Polyface Farm in Virginia. Here, at last, was a viable example of what a true working farm could be - diverse, sustainable and run in accordance with nature!
After reading Joel Salatin's books on beef and poultry, we agreed this was the model we would use to raise affordable chicken, eggs, and beef for our neighbors in the city. However, Mr. Salatin has a bit more land than we do and after several years of trying to raise both cows and poultry, we realized that that the best use of our limited acreage was to focus on raising really good chicken.
We still follow the Polyface Farm model by rotating our pastures, moving the tents daily and processing onsite. The horses and birds are just the right combination for 20 acres and the land gets more time to rest too.
I still have pictures of the cows in our photo gallery and I especially miss Cindy, the milk cow, but I know she went to a great home.
It's been a slow learning process but we were determined to get it right. And we have. It works!