Our Farm: Where People, Animals and Nature Come Together

The Glen Cauffman Farm – where People, Animals and Nature come together.

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.

Conservation practices

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.

Have questions about our farm? Let us know in the comments, on our Facebook page or on Twitter (@mowear). 

Environmental Stewardship: How We Manage

Our angora goats grazing.

The Glen Cauffman Farm, home to Pure American Naturals, is more than a place where mohair is produced; it’s a fully operational farm, home to a variety of ecological systems. We believe that it’s not just about the animals, but it’s also about the environment. We carefully manage our livestock, croplands, water, and operations in ways that enhance the environment. We work closely with eco-friendly processors, educators and government agencies to continuously increase our commitment to environmental stewardship. We want you to be collaborators in the process by enjoying the fibers and educational opportunities offered by Pure American Naturals. Together, we’ll create a sustainable future.

Being sustainable means acting in economically viable, socially responsible and environmentally sound ways. It requires integration and thoughtful management of all three of these aspects.

  • Economic viability means remaining profitable and recycling profits back into our home economy by using local and regional vendors and providing jobs.
  • Social responsibility entails strengthening community by supporting local and regional people, businesses, education, public service and philanthropy.
  • Environmental soundness requires providing for animal well-being, protecting soil, maintaining and enhancing clean water and air, and protecting wildlife and renewable resources for the future.

Together these three requirements of sustainability are critical for supporting life in any given ecosystem, including businesses and the planet in general.

Good Stewardship means seeking knowledge and guidance

More than 50 years ago, Glen Cauffman began working with the Soil Conservation Service – now the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) – to develop a Conservation Plan for the family farm. It was the original map for agricultural and environmental management. Since then, other agencies have provided valuable technical and engineering help in developing, implementing and monitoring our land and business management plans. The Glen Cauffman Farm’s partner agencies include:

Glen Cauffman and the farm have received numerous awards for excellence in stewardship and land management over the years.

Have questions about agriculture? Ask in the comments, or let us know on our Facebook page or Twitter (@mowear).