Why I stopped Farming


Roughly two years ago our landlord mentioned the possibility of selling a portion of the farm to us. I was of course very interested and hopeful that it would lead to more permanent and stable roots. Last spring we were given a number that was much higher for a much smaller section than originally discussed. This was when the real estate market was at its hottest after all. It was a deal that made no sense for the farm or my family.

At this time we were in expansion mode as I had quit my job a year earlier to focus only on the farm. However, once we were faced with possibly losing the farm we were renting, we realized the biggest weakness to our business plan which everything depended on. Land. You cant farm without land. Precovid we might have been able to swing the purchase of a farm elsewhere. Post covid, the prices are so inflated that the possibility of paying for a property from the profits of farming, at least in my situation, were not possible. I was faced with the reality that if I continued to grow and build the farm, it could be shut down the moment the farm was sold from under me and I didn’t have a backup option that made sense financially.

So the decision was made to pivot. If I couldn’t farm myself, I could at least take a support role that could possibly help other farms be more successful. Something that we could do anywhere. Over the past few years I’ve proven that I am very good at shipping and logistics. So why not work with farms to do just that!

Going forward we will be assisting other farms with shipping, sales, and market solutions. The interest we’ve had already has been more than anticipated.

So what does that mean for Bear Trail Beef? We’re going to keep it going. We are partnering up with several other farms who produce some excellent quality meats. Still grassfed, still pastured, doing exactly what we were doing. And if I’m honest, they are probably doing a better job than I was doing. This looks like it will be a really good thing as it will allow us to focus primarily on marketing and servicing our customers while at the same time helping other local farms to prosper. Bear Trail Beef is going to have more product, better product, and possibly even better pricing. For instance, we’ve already been able to bring shipping costs down and work it into our pricing rather than charge extra for it.

This morning I was looking through pictures from the past several years. Everything we’ve done, everything that's been built, a herd of cows out grazing, a group of piglets just out on pasture. It was a beautiful thing that kinda hurts to see go away. We still have some sheep and some chickens but the last of the beef have been gone for a month now. The hardest part was admitting to myself that I had failed at farming. At least as a business. But I did. The exciting thing is that I have been able to take most of the skills I’ve acquired through the process and apply them to what are already turning out to be more successful ventures.

Bear Trail Beef will continue. The mission will continue to be to connect families with quality, nutritious, alt-food that is accessible even though it is outside mainstream distribution and to help local food producers grow. The future is bright and we hope that those of you who have done so in the past, will continue to support what we do.



Mohawk Farmer Bear

Jordan Winters

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