Hey, welcome to my first blog post!
If this is your first time hearing about us, welcome to the farm - we’re so glad you’re joining us!
Ayers Valley Farm is a family farm that is owned and operated by husband-and-wife duo, Josh & Taylor Ayers. We’re located in Southern Ohio about an hour southeast of Cincinnati or better known as Appalachia, as some folks call it.
I’m excited, anxious and a little nervous to share more details about our life here at Ayers Valley Farm. Forewarning, my writing style is how I talk so if it’s not grammatically correct all the time, I apologize in advance. I hope over time I become more comfortable with sharing all of the ins and outs but for now, bear with me as I share our story and why we work full time off the farm jobs to pay for our on the farm jobs. Yep, you read that correctly, we both work 40 hours a week off the farm to come home and work on the farm!
WHO WE ARE & HOW WE CAME TO BE
Josh & I were basically set up on a blind date, it’s not your typical small town love story when it comes to us. Josh likes to joke that God just dropped me off on his side porch that is now our farmhouse, but I was actually given the address to go kayaking with a group of co-workers. I was set up and this is where it starts to sound like a murder mystery but it's not, it's just a weird way that two people ended up falling in love.
Josh grew up only a few miles away from the farm where I showed up at. He's been involved in agriculture his entire life; minus the time he was away at college. A 3rd generation cattle farmer who thought he wanted nothing to do with the farm life when he left for college to become an engineer.
City life was a big change for him; he had spent his entire life working with cattle, hay, fixing anything with an engine. Still to this day Josh is known for his old 93' Dodge that he revamped. He spent 5 years in the city earning his Engineering Degree, he thought once he earned his degree he would stay in the city. It's funny how God has other plans for us. After working in the city a few months, a farm back home came up for sale and he knew then that this was his chance to get back to his roots that he had been missing.
All of this was happening while I was working at the State Department of Transportation and going to college for my Business degree in the evenings. I grew up showing 4H animals such as steers, pigs and rabbits but I didn't have quite the same farm life experience that Josh had. I always knew that someday I would live on a farm but I had no idea how I’d get there or who I’d be doing it with.
So, fast forward to our first blind date – we kayaked on Eagle Creek which runs on the back of our farm. It was a couple hour trip that changed our lives forever. Neither one of us ever expected what God had planned. We talked about our lives the entire trip as if we had known each other forever. Everything felt right, we had the same goals in life, knew how we wanted to farm and raise children the "old fashioned way" where they would spend less time on the internet and more time working with their hands. Everything just felt right and from that day on we’ve been inseparable.
Only 17 months after that first date, we were married! It may have been quick to some people but when you know, you know. We had already started working on fencing and getting our first cattle herd before getting married.
What really started the Ayers Valley Farm you know today is a personal health journey. Josh and I were seemingly healthy individuals but we had aches and pains that everyone just associates with “getting older”.
Well, in my early twenties having intestinal issues wasn’t a sign of getting older, it was my body telling me something was seriously wrong. I had spent a significant amount of time in pain along with thousands of dollars going to different doctors; doing lab work, taking different medications and I never had any relief. I was honestly convinced I had a rare auto-immune disease or cancer.
Every doctor I went to said the same thing, “We’re sorry but you’re healthy other than these few issues you’ve told us about... you can take this prescription drug for your entire life and it might help, if it doesn’t, you’ll just have to live with the discomfort.” WHAT?!
Nope, I wasn’t taking that for an answer especially after spending our first wedding anniversary stuck in the bathroom at a nice restaurant pleading with God to just kill me right there because I was in so much pain and would rather die. That may seem a little dramatic but it’s the truth, the pain was so unbearable plus it was incredibly embarrassing. So, I went home that night and started researching my health issues, symptom by symptom and I slowly figured out that what I was eating was the contributing factor to how I felt.
We live in a rural area and most fresh produce and meats are hard to come by. I resorted to searching for good quality pasture raised meat at the grocery stores but the label claims and what the product actually was were two different things.
After getting fed up with the way I was feeling, Josh and I decided that we were going to raise high quality pastured meats ourselves. It doesn’t matter that we have to work full time to be able to afford to do it, we are doing it because it’s our health on the line.
After experiencing positive effects on our health and obviously falling in love with the lifestyle, we decided to share our story and our pasture raised meats with people all over the country and that's where we are now.
CURRENT FARM LIFE STATUS
We’re currently still working full time off the farm, I in administration and Josh as an Engineer but we’re working hard to change our titles. Farming is our passion and it’s our life goal to eventually become successful full-time farmers. While we’re on the topic of titles, we still consider ourselves to be farmers because our main focus is to improve the land and heal the soil through regenerative agricultural methods.
REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE METHODS
If you’ve never heard of Regenerative Ag well, welcome to the new and improved “old way” of doing things. It’s defined as a “Conservation and rehabilitation approach to food and farming systems. It focuses on topsoil regeneration, increasing biodiversity, improving the water cycle, enhancing ecosystem services, supporting biosequestration, increasing resilience to climate change, and strengthening the health and vitality of farm soil. Practices include recycling as much farm waste as possible.”
We call ourselves regenerative ag farmers because we practice one or more of the methods every single day, 365 days a year. We work hard to work in sync with Mother Nature instead of against her. Our cattle and chickens are rotated daily through diverse forage, and our hogs are rotated bi-monthly through wooded areas for all of our animals to deposit manure and urine for optimal soil health. The intensive management provides a rest period for the land to recover and improve forage nutrition to feed our livestock.
Our goal is for the land to continuously improve over time for our livestock to feed our family, and yours!
We love the quote by Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms, “Our animals don’t do drugs. Instead, we move them almost daily in a tightly choreographed ballet from pasture spot to pasture spot.”
When we started this journey for ourselves, we made the decision to raise the best possible products we could which means no drugs, no added hormones, no pesticides sprayed around or any unnatural methods of farming – we’re simply working hard to provide a premium product, the way nature intended.
FUTURE GOALS FOR AYERS VALLEY FARM
We started this farm to feed our family because we care about how our meat is raised. We quickly discovered that there is a difference with our farm fresh meat and we wanted to share it with as many folks as we can! We started making that dream come true and now we’re shipping meat to families all across the country. We’re so grateful that God has blessed us by healing of our bodies and giving us the means to raise healthy livestock.
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Leave us a comment below… and let us know what you hope to see from our blog. Thanks for following along with us!