Farm: Reedy Fork Farm
Operator: George Teague
Production: Livestock, Feed
Certifications: USDA Organic
Location: Elon, Alamance County, NC
“My goal for the project is to provide producers of different livestock species on varied-sized farms a reliable, economical, sustainable source of organic feed.”
James Teague is a sixth-generation farmer, an organic dairyman, and a member of the Organic Valley farmer cooperative. He graduated from North Carolina State University in 1980 and returned to his family dairy in Elon, North Carolina to partner with his father in the dairy, Reedy Fork Farm. He has remained working on the farm for more than 30 years. In 2006, the dairy industry turned sour in North Carolina and many farmers left the business. To save their dairy farm from the same fate, the Teague family decided to become a certified organic farm and soon joined Organic Valley.
James has become deeply involved in the organic dairy industry in North Carolina. He has served on the Guilford County Soil and Water Conservation District Board for 12 years and as a Dairy Executive Committee Representative for Organic Valley. He also managed the feed depot for Organic Valley for the last five years. James also has lifelong experience as a dairyman and understands the importance of reliable and affordable feed sources. He saw how dairy farmers and livestock operators were struggling to pay the high costs of out-of-state organic feeds. He thought there might be great potential in milling certified organic feeds as a way to give small-scale producers access to affordable quantities of organic grain and the ability to create custom mixed feeds for specific nutritional needs.
James thought that Reedy Fork Farm could supply organic dairy and livestock producers with organic grain. He was awarded a grant 2011 to expand his on-farm milling infrastructure into a certified organic feed operation. The grant would help to improve and expand the operation by adding a larger shed, eight additional grain bins, a mill, proportioner, tanks, bagger, and loading equipment. With this equipment, the farm would begin distributing bags of organic grain to producers, farm supply stores, and other places with a need for the feed.
James hopes to generate $200,000 gross annual income from the organic feed operation. Dairymen and livestock producers will also benefit financially from the decreased cost in organic feed shipping costs.
Local farmers may also be able to increase their income in ways by supplying organic grain to the Reedy Fork mill. In the long run, this project could show that appropriately-scaled, locally-owned infrastructure is a key component in sustaining local, organic agriculture. Mills and other processing facilities provide jobs, new economic outlets, and decreased prices to rural communities.
Video profile of Reedy Fork Farm by Burlington Food Co-op: