Lawrence and Cynthia Blakemore have owned Blakemore Farm in upstate New York on the Vermont border between the Adirondack and Green Mountains since 1979. The couple began the farm with a couple of dairy calves for their son’s 4-H showing and the beginnings of a Hereford herd which in time grew to over 50 cows and calves. With the arrival of their first grandchild, they sold the herd to have time to visit their son and his family, who lived several hours away.
For the next couple of years they grazed dairy heifers during the summer so the land could be managed to produce cattle without feeding grain. By 2003, an interest in the hearty nature of the Belted Galloway breed plus other desirable qualities of the breed resulted in their purchase of a cow-calf pair. To expand the herd they initially purchased registered and well bred cows and raised their own heifer calves.
Although Blakemore Farm’s Animal Welfare Approved herd of beef cattle has grown, they maintain a small herd on their 90 acre farm, utilizing all their available pastures for grazing and carefully selecting high quality hay from a local farmer to feed during the winter months. The Blakemores are proud that their grassfed cattle are never fed grains. They employ intensive rotational grazing methods, which they have perfected over many years of experience. This practice allows them to optimize their land use and benefits the health of their pastures and their cattle.
The Blakemores have also learned that their cattle benefit from supplemental selenium, a mineral missing in the soil in their region, and sea kelp. They are happy to share the knowledge that they have accumulated over time with others interested in high-welfare farming. Cynthia recommends that new farmers interested in grazing “read, ask lots of questions and visit folks who have been doing it for years.”
Cynthia learned about Animal Welfare Approved from other farmers in her area and once she read the standards knew that the program was in line with her own convictions. “Our goal,” she says, “is to have the cattle out where they can move around, have fresh water,” and perform their natural behaviors.
Blakemore Farm beef can be bought direct from the farm in Buskirk, New York. Call or email for availability.