Updates from Our Team Members’ Farms

Did you know that more than half of Farm Action’s staff members are farmers? As harvest season approaches, our team is hard at work growing and raising healthy, nutritious foods for their communities, and they’re excited to share updates from their farms!

Sarah Carden, Senior Policy Advocate

“My husband and I are first-generation organic vegetable farmers. We founded our farm in 2010, inspired by the belief that farming would be a way for us to support ourselves by contributing meaningfully to our community. Our story and the challenges we have faced are echoed across the country. In pursuit of farmland, we’ve had to move our farm twice already and will likely move again in the near future. We have battled to build up markets where they don’t exist.

“We spent the first decade of farming predominantly as a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm. With the birth of our two children, we made the decision to shift our focus to wholesale markets. We specialize in kale, collards, fennel, beets, tomatoes, peppers, and winter squash and sell predominantly to grocery stores and specialized processors. Lately, we have been busy getting the last of our spring crops out of the fields and planting fall crops, while we wait for the summer favorites to start pouring in.”

Sarah planting Tuscan Kale for the fall at her farm in New York state.

Web Davis, Senior Policy Advisor

“In 2016 after undergoing heart surgery, I started wondering about the next generation of farmers and the opportunities or lack of opportunities that they would face. I expressed my concern to the President of the State of Missouri NAACP. Since then, we have worked together on creating more awareness about BIPOC farmer issues.

“I have worked with the founders of Farm Action for many years. Right now I’m working on a project involving the Farm to School program and a local food hub, which has led to my current activity of planting seeds.

“The life of a farmer isn’t an easy one. When you’re planting a variety of species, you must carefully plan out and space your rows. Then there’s the unreliable weather — this year, my region is facing a terrible drought. And of course, there is an ongoing need to repair equipment and update infrastructure in any farming endeavor. But understanding the market demands and the yield potential of a wide variety of plants is invaluable to informing the work we do at Farm Action.”

Web is the owner of Triple D Produce, located west of Auxvasse, Missouri.

Angela Huffman, President and Co-Founder

“Back in 2016, I had the opportunity to move to the farm that my great-great-great-grandparents purchased in the 1800s. Today I raise registered Katahdin sheep and free-range egg-laying hens on this land.

“I just kicked off lambing season, which is a lot of work but also very rewarding. I participate in the National Sheep Improvement Program and focus on raising healthy, strong animals with excellent parasite resistance and mothering traits.

“I’m so grateful that I can continue my family’s farming legacy here.”

One of Angela's ewes just gave birth to twins.

Christian Lovell, Senior Director of Programs

“I am fortunate enough to continue running our Registered Hereford cattle herd on the same McDonough County Illinois farm that has been home to my family for more than four generations.

“We select for cattle that perform well in our environment: hot, humid summers and predominantly fescue pastures. Regenerative grazing improves our soil health and extends our grazing season. As we enter the fall, we are moving the cowherd twice daily to conserve forage and maximize the fall growth of our cool-season grasses. Despite an abnormally dry spring and summer, we are thankful for the grass we do have.

“Newborn fall calves will be here soon. We are excited for several embryo transfer matings from our top donor cows as well as the first calf crop from two sires we bred and raised here. As it always seems to do, fall will go by quickly for us. Before we know it, November will be here and we will be turning out bulls to breed cows so we can do it all again next year.”

Christian lives and works on the Illinois farm his family has owned for more than four generations.

Joe Maxwell, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer

“Unlike many of our neighbors who have been forced off their farms from government pro-big agriculture policies, my family and I have managed to remain on the land my great-grandfather purchased.

“Today we raise sheep, hogs, and row crops. While suffering through a drought this year, we were blessed to have rain the last week of July.

“We always remain hopeful we can continue to farm the next year.”

Joe raises sheep, hogs, and row crops.

Our work at Farm Action is only possible thanks to our team’s insights from their farming experience. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more farm updates!

Written and edited by: Sarah Carden, Jessica Cusworth, Web Davis, Angela Huffman, Dee Laninga, Christian Lovell, and Joe Maxwell