The 60 acre farm at Merck Forest and Farmland Center is managed with low impact, ecologically-sensitive practices. A permanent farm staff, and apprentices, strive to integrate the farm with the natural environment surrounding it. The farm is both a working landscape, and the "classroom" for many of the school groups that visit.
Animal Management Methods and Purpose
MFFC raises a variety of animalsdraft horses, chickens, sheep, and pigsfor the farm-based education programs, and for market purposes.
All of the animals are pastured; the farm employs management intensive grazing (MIG), a form of grazing that allows the animals to forage in pasture and move to new grazing grounds several times a week. MIG increases the quality of the pastures while providing the most nutritious feed for the animals (see bottom of page for more information on MIG).
Since the animals are rotated frequently, they might not be in the same spot as they were the last time you visited. We therefore encourage you to explore the farm each time you visit!
Pork, lamb, and wool products are sold from the Visitor Center.
Produce: You-Pick Berries
The farm also offers visitors you-pick blueberries and raspberries. The berries grow during the summer months, and in the next coming seasons will we have blackberries and fall varieties. Call ahead to see if the berries are ripe, bring your own containers, or stop by the Visitor Center to borrow a pint or quart container. Berries are sold by the pound.
More information on Management
Benefits of MIG include:
- Increased nutrition to animals, young grasses contain higher amounts of protein;
- Decreased pressure on pasture grasses, making the plants healthier and more productive over time;
- Grass-fed animals have higher Omega 3 content in meat, making it more heart-healthy for us to eat;
- Healthier pasture crops are better able to compete with weed species;
- Decrease in parasites as animals are not confined to the same area over extended periods of time;
- Greatly lowers feed costs, allowing MFFC to raise high quality meat at a lower cost.
Photo courtesy of Aaron Lamp