Living Barns

At Angus Glen Farms we graze 100 cows on 300 acres of rolling pastures adjacent to the Watkins Glen State Park. This is the second-most visited park in New York after Niagara Falls. Its main attraction is the Glen Creek Gorge, which passes just a few hundred yards from both of our old dairy barnyards. Two miles downstream is heart of the Finger Lakes Region: Seneca Lake. Those of you who keep livestock year-round know how quickly 100 cows can generate mud at certain times of the year. In the early years of building our herd, we did what most other beef producers do in this area: park the herd at the barn and feed them hay lots of hay. At our current size, this would result in a clear and significant impact on the watershed. About ten years ago I consulted with the local Soil and Water expert, who estimated that our barnyard needed at least $100k in “upgrades” to keep the nutrient-laden runoff from reaching Glen Creek. Building a new roofed shelter in a better location was estimated to cost $30k at that time. That’s when I decided that we had to either stay small or do things differently. One of the big shifts in our winter management was bale grazing and out-wintering the cat

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