In a beautiful Perry County, Pa. valley, we cultivate People, Animals and Nature, and have built a solid foundation for our business. At the Glen Cauffman Farm, we produce corn, soybeans, alfalfa hay, goats and mohair to support our animals and the regional agricultural economy, as well as provide luxury fiber to the fashion world. Our grazing animals fertilize and vitalize plants and soil, and help maintain healthy stands of vegetation which harvest energy from sunlight and encourage soil microbes to thrive beneath the landscape.
The farm’s ecologically healthy springs and creek also benefit the now improving health of Susquehanna River, and our crops feed and protect wildlife populations. Low-input farming practices are used exclusively, so soil is actually created, not lost and chemical amendments are minimized. We believe an ever-improving landscape ecology leads to healthy soil, animals, ecosystems and farm economy, which in turn directly contributes to the vitality of our local and regional community and the world.
A varied ecosystem
The 190 acres aren’t just home to the Pure American Naturals people, goats and plants. You will find a wide range of wildlife flourishing here. Deer, raccoons, opossums, rabbits and squirrels share the grounds with wild turkeys, grouse and pheasants. Other animals that can be seen are minks, porcupines, foxes, coyotes, skunks, raptors, song birds and the occasional black bear.
Enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program are 20 acres of erodible land, where native prairie grasses are maintained for wildlife habitat. Our conservation efforts were recognized recently by the USDA Natural Resources Conversation Service, which accepted our farm into the National Conservation Stewardship Program.
The goats are an extremely important part of our conservation techniques, as their habit has negligible impact to streams, fragile terrain and drainage areas.
The farm has been continuous no-till since 1984, which has protected the soil from erosion, enhanced water infiltration and improved soil health. To carry storm water and prohibit soil erosion, thousands of feet of sod waterways have been installed over the past 30-plus years. We’ve also created a wetland for storm water detention that captures and ameliorates runoff from a neighboring farm.
Cropland is maintained in contour strips of alternating crops in rotation providing soil conservation and ecosystem diversity. Cover crops and residue management provide “soil armor,” which protects the soil during storms. We’ve adopted integrated pest management to lessen the use of pesticides by weekly crop scouting, and have subscribed to pest modeling services to predict the arrival of pests and diseases, allowing for intervention that’s targeted and ecological.
A farm is always a “work in progress”
And when we’re not tending livestock, seeding, harvesting or haying, we can probably be found working any number of improvement and maintenance jobs necessary for running a 190-acre, family farm. We construct buildings; do wiring and plumbing; build feeders; dig in water lines; install energy-free waterers; create soil and water conservation improvements; repair tractors and equipment; build fences; restore historic structures; preserve farm and family history; and educate others.