In this blog post I am interviewing Greg and Stephanie Pankau of Farm2Fork Ranch. Greg and Stephanie live on the edge of Rockport, MO with their three children; Emma, a 10th grader, Trulin, who is in the 6th grade and Lilly a 4th grader. They took the Farm Beginnings® class several years ago and have continued to raise several types of poultry and livestock and be involved in a number of diversified enterprises with the farm. It is important for them to know where their food comes from and at the same time provide their children an opportunity to learn and gain responsibility, as they are very much involved in the farm. Greg and Stephanie and their family produce food naturally on their farm in northwest Missouri. Follow along with this photo blog as we tour the farm.
Poultry is an integral part of the Farm2Fork Ranch operation. They have raised several breeds of turkeys, including Red Burbons, Blue Slate, Broad Breasted and Whites. They process some for meat, but also collect and sell eggs from the hens, which bring a higher price and are good for baking.
Farm2Fork Ranch uses Rhode Island Reds and Koo Koo Marans for their laying flock. Chicken eggs are another product they sell to their customers. This provides a good way for their children to get involved on the farm by taking care of the chickens and collecting eggs.
Farm2Fork Ranch utilizes a small chicken tractor for their modest broiler operation. They will harvest and process chickens each summer to sell on the farm as well. The Pankaus also have Muscovy ducks. These ducks provide excellent jumbo sized eggs, can be used for meat,and are excellent for controlling pests, such as mosquitoes and grasshoppers.
Farm2Fork Ranch has a number of animals on their acreage on the edge of Rockport. In this photo Trulin is watering the animals. In this pen are a few goats, a couple of calves and a pot belly pig.
The Pankaus also have pygmy goats on their farm among all the different types of animals.
The Pankaus rent a pasture and some buildings on the other side of Rockport where many of their animals are kept. The pasture is primarily made up of cool-season grasses, but there is a mix of several other type plants as well.
This photo shows a mix of primarily white clover, but also red clover that is scattered throughout the pasture. These legumes add a higher protein forage for the livestock as they graze the pasture.
Cattle panels are used to keep livestock in on some of the rugged areas of the pasture.
This photo illustrates how steep some of the pasture is. Sheep and goats like to browse on the trees, brush and weeds, while cattle usually prefer grass.
Trulin and Lilly herding their sheep. They have katahdin/dorper crossbred sheep. These are hair sheep bred for meat. The dorper is a Dorsett/ Blackhead Persian sheep crossbred developed in South Africa. These sheep are raised on pasture during the grazing season and receive hay in the winter. Lamb is another meat that is processed and sold to Farm2 Fork customers off the farm.
Emma brings up one of the Pankau’s cows from their breeding herd. They have a mixed herd of several breeds. This cow is a high percentage of the Devon breed. Devons do well as grass-fed beef. Calves from the herd have been raised up, butchered and sold to several customers of Farm2Fork Ranch over the years.
Farm2Fork Ranch originated with Longhorn cattle and still have longhorns, but have Longhorn/Piedmontees cross cattle in their herd. The Piedmontees cattle originated out of the Piedmontee area of Italy.
This is a photo of a (Texmontese) Longhorn/Piedmontese cross cow in the Pankau’s herd.
As Greg mentioned in his interview, pot belly pigs are an integral part of their farming enterprise. They have farrowed several litters of pot belly pigs and have sold many just as pets to people that live in the city. This has been a very lucrative business for Farm2Fork Ranch. Also Greg explained that the pigs are effective in keeping predators away from their chickens. At activities the Pankaus have participated in with their animals, the pot belly pigs have been a big hit.
Bees have also been an excellent enterprise at the Farm2Fork Ranch. Besides selling honey that they collect during different seasons of the year, the Pankaus infuse various flavors into the honey and market this product. I can say from experience that these different flavors of honey are excellent and honey is a natural food that has been shown to have several health benefits.
Farm2Fork Ranch has been involved with a number of activities over the years where they bring some of their animals to conferences, festivals or different events for youth and people living in urban areas. Petting zoos have been a very popular activity for them. Sometimes they have even invited groups out to their farm to see the animals. They are incorporating this agri-tourism type enterprise along with the enterprise of raising animals and their products for food and marketing it to the community.
These sheep from Farm2Fork Ranch’s flock are content in their pasture as they have plenty of forage to eat and also shade during the hot days of summer. They are also well taken care of by the Pankau family. I want to thank Greg and Stephanie for letting me visit their farm and I wish them luck in their various farming enterprises in the future and in producing good, fresh local food for their community.