Hidden amongst the pine groves, lakes, and cypress bogs of East Texas sits the Cadman family and their dream called Shady Grove Ranch. Just a year ago Matt and Jerica Cadman, with the financial and emotional support of Matt's parents, purchased a hundred acres of rolling pasture and ponds to secure their future as grass farmers. Unfortunately, the long standing drought in Texas is not being kind to anyone making a living off rainfed agriculture, but the Cadman ranch at least has several large ponds that could be used for irrigation.
Matt and Jerica started farming largely in response to Matt's debilitating digestive disease- ulcerative colitis. After failing to find relief in conventional medicine, they looked to changing their diet and removing the things from Matt's diet that brought him discomfort. They also discovered the teachings of Weston A. Price, which stressed a diet rich in animal fats, organ meats, bone broths, and fermented foods as the keys to good health. They began by raising dairy and beef cattle and started a cow-share program in which customer-owners can receive raw, grassfed milk. Now on their own land they have diversified to include pastured piggies, broiler chickens, turkey, and laying hens. Ultimately they aspire to provide quality, wholesome, chemical-free food to 100 local families. Their committment to farming goes beyond making a living or having a family business- they want to cure what ails people through nutrient dense food.
It was hard to pin down this hard-working family (with a toddler) for a long interview. Despite a few interuptions, I was able to record this three part interview of their story. Take the time to listen how they got started, how they managed to purchase land as beginning farmers, how personal health problems have shaped their dream of farming, and their advice for other beginning farmers.