WELCOME TO NORTHAVEN

WELCOME TO NORTHAVEN



WELCOME TO NORTHAVEN

We have an exciting year ahead together. We’re taking this season by storm with a unique new beef herd, 30+ piglets, and continued growth on the horizon. As this is our first newsletter, it will be a bit longer than usual to give you the full picture of our operations and future here at Northaven Farm.

OUR FARM
As many of you probably know, Northaven is new— to us at least. We’re still learning different in’s and out’s of this property and how best to serve it. After all, our goal here is to illustrate that we can simultaneously rebuild native habitat better than it could rebuild itself while, producing some of the most nutrient dense food on earth. In this first newsletter we want to give you a look at the things we are doing to build our foundation on this land, and talk about some of our plans for the upcoming year. We want you, as our customer, to have a transparent and holistic understanding of the farm you have been so generously supporting!

OUR TEAM
For those of you that aren’t familiar with who we are, we wanted to take a moment and introduce ourselves. My name is Bennett Sippel, and I am one of the owners, as well as the Production & Operations Manager here at Northaven Pastures.



OUR PRACTICES
Our mission is to restore ecological, animal and human health through “beyond organic” farming practices on the land we steward.

We use traditional breeding methods with heritage breeds to preserve and improve upon the unique value of preindustrial animals. This also helps to better their interaction with the ecosystems and allows our herd to be efficient in nourishing you— the families and customers we serve.

It is common around this area for land owners to lease their property out for hay production year after year. Due to this, this land ends up with no fertility being put back on the ground such as composted or fresh manures. This is a biological travesty. In fact, I would go as far to say it’s not even farming— it’s mining. This process is using the resources of the past to create wealth now, without making any investments in the future. Eventually, any piece of ground treated this way will become a desert.

The opposite is also true, in that much of that hay then goes to small overstocked areas of cattle, horses and sheep. These animals are kept in one area all year, creating an equal level of destruction by grazing grasses to stubs. This in turn destroys the ecosystems that go unseen. The mycorrhizal fungi who live symbiotically with the roots of these grasses are starved leading the protozoa who live off of their carbon output die off, and so chain continues down the path of degradation. The end result is the destruction of the amazing and complex microbial ecosystem that once existed in this pasture.

The approach we take is through timing and management; we fertilize our land with the manure and urine of the animals raised here. Our farm was previously no different than the two stories above— this farm had lowlands where 200 sheep were kept and overgrazed, and highlands that were cut for hay and haven’t received any nutrition since. The only way to heal our land is through getting our livestock back out there. You’re helping us put this plan into action by purchasing our meat! We can only afford to reintroduce animals by having customers to sell them to, and continue the circle of life on our farm.

Northaven Pastures is a family endeavor; comprised of myself, my wife Zoe, step-brother Eric, and parents Kim & Sue Sippel (don’t forget our Director of Predator Management, Rudy!). We are entering our 4th year of full time farming and have recently welcomed a 7th member to our Northaven family— our beautiful daughter Shiloh.

A bit about me and how we’ve ended up here- After studying ecology at SUNY New Paltz, I learned that our ecosystems across the world are not what they were 1,000 years ago. Through clear cutting forests, the extinction of large megafauna across the world and more recently the implementation of chemical farming; our native habitats have been broken. In short, as my professor once said, “We broke the woods”. New York used to be something we never see anymore- an Oak Savanna. Meaning instead of untouched land becoming a thick patch of trees, there used to be much larger trees with forage between them. Forage that was maintained by large herds of deer, elk, and wood bison (yes, NY had bison), who were managed and moved by black bear, bobcat, lynx, fox and cougars.

With our cattle, pigs and electric fence now instead of the wood bison and predators, we can recreate the same ecological abundance through good and thoughtful management.

 

 

 


FIRST STEPS
We first found what is now known as Northaven Farm in March of 2022 after three long years of searching for the perfect piece of land. We completed our purchase in July, and have been living and working on the property full time since November. Our master plan for the businesses and farm is extensive, exciting, and daunting all at once- but we have to start with the basics first. As a livestock farmer the three things I think about when getting our land up, running and restored are: fence, water and forage.


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