At Deck Family Farm, our task is raising animals on pasture: building soil fertility by practicing rotational grazing and cycling nutrients in
an efficient manner. We also have a milling program, driven by a 2 ton mixer mill, where we combine a blend of ingredients for those animal groups that cannot break down plant fibers. Simply put: where beef cows and sheep can get 100% of their nutrients from grass and silage, pigs and chickens can only get up to 20% of their nutrition from grass (and then, only in the best of times). We ask alot of our dairy herd and also feed grain to our dairy, 5 lbs of grain per day per cow. We mill over 10 tons of feed per month. We source grain as much as possible from the Willamette Valley and supplement only when necessary from outside of Oregon, for example: organic corn or peas grown in Washington.
About GMO and animal feed
When a feed is certified organic, then by definition the feed is non-GMO. When a feed is not certified organic there is no way in guaranteeing that it is non-GMO. So, for example, Deck Family Farm layers have been certified organic since 2012 and thus have been GMO-free since 2012. As our dairy, broilers, and pigs are not certified organic we haven’t been able to say that they are “GMO-free”. However, we have recently (in January, 2016) switched all of our milled corn to certified organic and now say that our feed for our dairy and our pigs, as well as our layers is GMO-free. Wheat, barley, and peas are not grown as GMO crops.
Many operations in one farm
Why not feed all of our animals, corn-free, soy-free, organic, locally sourced grain? This would be a laudable goal and many folks ask us about this. The answer comes down to price. Everything is possible given time and money, but simply we cannot make the cost calculations work as a corn-free, soy-free, organic, locally sourced feed will be at least double the cost of an equivalent feed, not to mention the hit on energy and protein from removing soy and corn. The end result is roughly double the cost of production, not to mention competing against obscenely cheap pork on the commodity market (but who wants to eat that!). The feeds and certifications for our farm products we have today are the result of years of introspection, sweat, number-crunching, while maintaining a consistently high quality product. We encourage you to refer to our Feeds and Certifications page when you have questions about our various products.