Food production is in their blood

Morning Joy Farm works to care for the land

Continuing to work the land that her family has farmed for over 75 years, Annie Carlson has one goal in mind for the Morning Joy Farm: increasing soil health.

Carlson and her husband were both raised on farms, seeing the day-to-day tasks and struggles that can come with food production.

“We both saw how hard it is for our families to make a living farming conventionally, subject to whims and prices of the conventional input prices and buyers,” she explained.

After marrying her husband in 2007, they made the decision to do something different. On their farm, they grow exclusively grass-fed beef and lamb, pastured broiler chickens, egg-laying chickens, turkeys, egg-laying ducks, and pork. Grazing animals is an extremely important part of their goal. Carlson explained that grazing animals in a managed system can allow for free solar energy to be harvested in the form of perennial forages. It can decrease dependence on high-priced inputs such as petroleum, grain, and management intensive infrastructure.

Of the grazing experience, Carlson said, “It allows our animals to fully express their innate abilities, like chickens scratching and chasing bugs on the pasture, pigs rooting and foraging, and cows and sheep grazing in close-knit herds.”

One of Carlson’s favorite things about farming is walking through the pastures in the early morning and moving the animals to fresh pastures. She enjoys watching them frolic and graze in the new grass. She says it all allows her and her family to provide nutricious and delicious food to their customers.

Farming and what they do is such a big deal for Carlson that not only are her and her husband raising their children to be the 4th generation to live and work the land but they will be hosting a Women Caring for the Land Event where they will be talking about regenerating the soil health and multi-species grazing systems.

“Regenerating the land and our food system: A Women Caring for the Land event” will take place on June 20 at 9 a.m. on the Morning Joy Farm. Placed a mile north and a mile and a half west of Mercer, the farm will host whoever is interested in joining the women-centered learning experience.

An expert about the upcoming event says the day will be a family-friendly time to spend on the farm, time to network with other women in agriculture, and time to consider the legacy of the land. The Carlsons have a passion for what they do and want to share their process of using the animals to not only regenerate the land but to also help keep the next generation connected to their food system.

For more information on the event or to sign up, contact Cayla Bendel at either 498-2920 or at cbendel@pheasantsforever.org.

The Women Caring for the Land is a group that is designed to help serve women farmland owners who are interested in learning more about conservation, according to their site. They work to give women opportunities to learn through events and meetings, such as the one the Carlsons will be hosting on their farm. They have been working to connect women with other women farmland owners to learn and share their knowledge and expertise for around 15 years.