When walking through pastures, barns, and enclosures Temple Grandin strives to sense what the animals experience. She feels her autism allows her to understand the feelings of America’s farm animals. Drawing from her years of experience and research, farmers rebuild enclosures, reconstruct pasture landscapes, and reroute the path an animal takes to exit the farm and head for the processing plant. Grandin’s work inspires many farmers to shift from viewing the animal as a commodity to treating animals in a way that keeps them happy, safe and ultimately healthy. Many feel these animals are producing a higher quality meat that is raised more humanely with better flavor.
Today’s farming is shifting away from the ‘commodity farmer’ and moving towards a more sustainable and wholesome approach to farming. Many farmers are shifting their commodity approach to follow some of Temple Grandin’s suggestions – considering the animals’ point of view in their day-to-day work.
Golden Bear Farm is located just outside Sheboygan, Wisconsin where Steve and Marie Deibele’s open pastures extend to roughly 200 acres. The slightly rolling meadows house about 50 cows, 100 Berkshire pigs and a handful of horses. The animals graze and rotate through pastures. One area of the land grows grains while the animals graze the neighboring section – the animals’ manure along with hay and local fish create a wholesome fertilizer, rejuvenating the land.
Steve and Marie first started looking into Temple Grandin’s work when they purchased horses; hoping to truly understand the beautiful creatures and train them to some day assist with the farm work. The philosophies and psychology behind working with horses and their ability to sense human’s energy soon became how Steve and Marie approached their cows and pigs as well. The more the Deibeles thought about this approach the better sense it started to make – today it is deeply ingrained in their approach to farming.
Golden Bear Farm follows the stages of farming all the way to the end – the butcher. The Deibeles spent many years researching butchers to make sure they were able to offer a wholesome product through and through. Golden Bear Farm works very diligently to make sure animals are raised 100% grass-fed, organic and with absolutely no antibiotics or hormones. Beck’s Meat Processing in central Wisconsin continues the organic ethos while processing Golden Bear meats.
The Golden Bear Farm’s success lies in an idea that Steve and Marie stumbled upon years ago, grass is not simply grass. They came to the realization that the animals raised should be treated like “you and me. We choose to look at it from the whole picture, soil on up.”
Their own philosophies regarding food and the land it’s grown on, Temple’s inspiring work, and the well-cared for animals have all helped Golden Bear Farm produce a pure and divine product – appreciated by all.
All hail the spirit of animals.
Summer 2012 Madison Food Warrior
This post is from one of the interns in the Real Time Farms Food Warrior Internship Program. These interns are collecting data, pictures, and video on the growing practices of our nation’s farms, gathering food artisans’ stories, and documenting farmers markets. We all deserve to know where our food comes from! Boring legalese we feel we must include: this was written by a real live person who has their own opinions, which we value, but that do not necessary reflect, though they may (or may not), reflect the values and opinions of Real Time Farms. That is for you to guess and us to know.