and the Glen Cauffman Farm
PAN~ Meaningful and Interesting
We want to know you. And it’s important (to us) that you know who we are. That’s what makes relationships. We become a part of each other’s world when we produce your fashion and you wear clothing that started on our farm. To us, it’s a bond with you, with our animals, and with nature. We value and appreciate you, so we want to share more of our heritage as our friend and customer. Here are a few interesting facts and insights to help you know us better.
Angora Goats and The Environment
Fiber animals are not adaptable to unnatural confinement where odors and air quality contaminants can be a problem. Grazing animals have very low odor production compared to concentrated animal enterprises. The Angoras use their “goat houses” minimally for protection from rain only, and so the soft straw bedding is easily composted and spread, adding to the fertility of the soils without causing environmental impacts.
Grazing animals are considered an aesthetic attraction and bring positive accolades to agriculture from the general public. They add scenic beauty for those visiting the region. Educating the public about the animals’ ecologic value and their production nurtures environmental awareness and consciousness.
The goats’ pasture is permanent sod, reducing organic matter losses and eliminating carbon release caused by tilling or bare soil. Rotational grazing evenly distributes animal waste, providing the nutrients plants need to thrive, in a readily accessible and visually inoffensive form.
Synthetic fibers are chemical intensive and/or petroleum-based. Fibers from plant sources require high energy and chemical inputs in their production and processing. Small fiber-producing ruminants are a unique, renewable, sustainable source of superior fiber that reduces the need for energy and chemical-intensive production of plant and synthetic fibers.
The energy from the sun is converted by photosynthesis to forage, and goats and sheep convert this rapidly renewable feed source into usable fiber that requires minimal chemical or energy intensive processing.
Ruminants such as sheep and goats are able to digest cellulose which is indigestible by people; they are not competing for human food. These animals consume forages; often they harvest forage not available for other livestock by grazing inaccessible or otherwise unusable land.
Perennial crop and grazing systems of diverse plant species improve soil biology and soil quality. Properly managed small ruminants do not create large areas of denuded soils, their grazing habits create attractive and plant healthy forage heights that protect both the soil and plants from drought, disease, and parasites. It’s a natural ecosystem that is good for all that inhabit and benefit from it!
Small grazing animal enterprises reduce carbon release into the atmosphere, reducing global warming. Perennial grazing systems sequester carbon-adding organic matter to the soil.
Fossil fuel consumption in management and production is minimal compared to concentrated animal enterprises as well as commodity crop production. These animals harvest their own feed very effectively and in doing so, dramatically reduce the need for cosmetic or management mowing with machinery. The energy consumption of animal fiber harvesting and processing is very low relative to other sources of fiber.
Air quality for the animals is of minimal concern when animals are not concentrated. Proper pasture rotation provides top quality forage for the goats and protection from disease and parasites, promoting health. And the diverse natural topography of the farm provides an appropriate environment for growth, development, and play!
The small ruminants range compatibly with Integrated Pest Management birds-guinea hens, peacocks, and chickens- for which the guardian dogs for the herds or flocks also provide protection, while the birds provide the goats and the dogs with protection from ticks and fleas. Goats offer effective Integrated Pest Management control of invasive plants in their pasture. Angora goats’ favorite foods are the noxious multiflora rose and Canada thistle. Well-managed sheep and goats readily graze weeds, minimizing the spread of weed seeds. This symbiosis provides a safe, comfortable, and low stress natural environment for all the animals on the farm.
Meet the Goats
Our Friendly, Mohair-Producing Angora Goats
The 190 acres of rolling hills and idyllic dells of The Glen Cauffman Farm are home to over one hundred beautiful, healthy and happy Angora goats that are busily producing a top quality, desirable product from nothing more than air, water, sunshine, and the natural native forage of their pasture.
Their beautiful, long ringlets of hair are sought after as a superior luxurious fiber for the high fashion fabric and clothing market. These little animals are a key element in a holistic approach to sustainable production of quality, long lasting, comfortable, and beautiful textiles without negative environmental impact. The animals themselves provide the sustainable upkeep of their pastures with little maintenance or waste of forage. They require only easily maintained, simple fencing and housing, much of which is made from recycled materials. The herd is kept on ten fenced acres of the farm, with no crowding or areas of grass cover loss.
This thriving herd has grown from a modest beginning in 2004, as a group of ten does and one buck. The goats are prolific mohair producers and good mothers. Responsibility for the care and protection of the does and kids is shared by two Great Pyrenees and two Maremma guardian dogs that live as part of the herds. The Angoras enjoy a natural lifestyle, roaming extensive and varied terrain to satisfy their innate curiosity and diverse tastes in grasses, forbs (diverse broadleaf and flowering plants of similar growth habit of grasses) and browse (leaves, twigs, and young shoots of trees or shrubs.) Their five current pastures include trees for shade, rocks and banks to play on, and a pristine spring-fed brook for cool water, as well as underground hydrants for the pastures and sheds. Fourteen safe and cozy hutches bedded with soft straw are available for them whenever they choose. Receiving medical treatment when needed, with holistic veterinary care and integrated husbandry and management, they are naturally robust and healthy, requiring little more than routine foot-trimming and periodic parasite monitoring and control; and they live as nature intended. Minimal fabricated and temporary handling and feeding equipment are required for the goats’ maintenance.
Twice each year our goats receive their equivalent of “a trip to the salon to get their hair done.” In March and October, the goats’ soft, lustrous coats are shorn in the shearing shed with the help of a custom shearer. The mohair is cleaned and sorted to remove foreign matter and stained hair, and is delivered to several different spinneries in the Northeast. The top quality mohair will be processed to create PAN textile fiber. The goats don’t seem to mind too much. In fact, they’re pretty laid back and rather enjoy the experience.
In the gentler weather of April, babies are born, and each mother and her one or two kids spend a few days in a warm, insulated fiberglass nursery building. After nursing and bonding with the does are established, the mischievous kids and their attentive mothers are turned out to graze and cavort among the nutritious spring grasses and wildflowers. No chemical weed control is used and mowing at optimal height for plant growth efficiency is needed only 2-3 times yearly. The goats are diverse and non-destructive grazers and their meadows remain at an attractive-appearing consistent height with this very low maintenance. Their lifestyle as clean, healthy, inquisitive and playful mountain goats is promoted in this environmentally responsible farm operation.
Winter: Rest and Relaxation Our Angora Goats in December, January, and February
There’s snow on the ground and icicles forming along the roof. We cover ourselves from head to toe. Winter is a time for taking things easy, and rest and relaxation is what occurs during this time at The Glen Cauffman Farm. And while we mostly take care of business as usual and wait for the grass to become green, our Angora goats are bringing about a new generation.
New life. It’s what ensures any species continues to thrive. For our does, winter is the gestation period. The breeding period at the farm begins in November, and kidding normally occurs in April. We do what we can to ensure our does give birth to healthy kids by providing optimal nutrition, holistic veterinary care and integrated husbandry and management.
Part of making sure both mom and baby are healthy is by keeping them comfortable. Our goats are shorn twice a year – March and October – but by the time winter officially begins, they have grown back a warm winter fleece.
The goats also have 14 safe and cozy hutches that are bedded with soft straw that are available to them whenever they choose. The snow doesn’t stop them from going outside. You’ll find the goats enjoying the snow, and will only choose to take shelter inside when there is a cold rain.
By February’s end, the snow is ready to melt and warm weather is on its way. Spring is on the horizon and is truly a season of new life …
God Made a Farmer
And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So, God made a farmer.
The day after the Super Bowl (2013), I received an e-mail from the daughter of a business connection:
“Good day, Mr. Cauffman. When I saw this commercial last night, I thought this was the perfect complement to what PAN stands for, and you are already on it. Very powerful images and message …”
I clicked the link. It was the “God Made a Farmer” ad from Dodge that aired during the Super Bowl. From the first second, I was touched. Images of sun-hardened faces with the voice of Paul Harvey exclaiming, “So, God made a farmer.” Tears streamed from my eyes. To say I was moved emotionally would be an understatement.
“I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to await lunch until his wife’s done feeding visiting ladies and tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon – and mean it.” So, God made a farmer.
Thoughts swirled through my head. Could anybody care enough about farmers to put such a well-crafted tribute in a Super Bowl ad? Could this young girl from the big city, whom I had never met, have any idea about farmers or what we do? Does she have an interest in knowing? Has it come to be, finally, that farmers are important?
I ruminated on these questions as I watched the video again … again … and again.
God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, ‘Maybe next year.’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain’n from ‘tractor back,’ put in another seventy-two hours.” So, God made a farmer.
My mind drifted back to another time, a time when farmers worked unappreciated … a time when we were viewed as being the lowest of the low, like serfs in the 15th Century. A time when children – like me – were discouraged from pursuing a farming career, being told it was a waste of time. A time when farms were left behind for salaried, 40-hour week lifestyles behind a desk …
God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor’s place. So, God made a farmer.
Farmers don’t stop when the traditional work week is over. It’s not just a career. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a calling. It’s a passion inside that won’t change or lessen when we’re away from the farm. It’s a blessing to be able to tend to our animals, to spend long hours gathering crops, to bale hay and to care about everything that comes along with life on a farm.
It’s knowing that what you do keeps your community going … because most of what we have can be traced back, in some way, to a farm.
The animals and crops you tend to, the hard work that produces blood, sweat and tears, all of it is necessary to care for the people of our world. It may go unnoticed; we don’t do it for the attention or notoriety. We do it because it’s a calling, an innate urge to ensure that our resources and products are there to feed and clothe our communities – whether it’s producing a steak and salad for dinner, or creating that perfect mohair sweater for someone out there.
Farming is hard work.
Farming is part of what makes America great.
God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark. It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with a five-mile drive to church.
I’ve heard the Paul Harvey narration before. It was originally delivered in 1978, during an address to the Future Farmers of America. Now, it has so much more meaning as I’ve found another calling: telling our farmers’ stories to the people that want to know what makes PAN fashions unique. And this video, with its images of rough, rugged farmers, powerfully projects the special story of how much farmers care and love what they do.
“Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life ‘doing what dad does.’” So, God made a farmer.
The last part of Mr. Harvey’s speech speaks of something close to my heart. PAN and the farm are both family oriented; my son and daughter both assist in various capacities. To have them share in my vision and love of agriculture gives me more joy than I could ever express in words. I believe it will carry through to their children, and that farming will always be a Cauffman family way of life.
Thank you, God, for making me a farmer.
– Glen Cauffman, 2013
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