We're Neil, Justina, and Lars. We raise healthy meat animals naturally and humanely on pasture and in the mixed forest of our family farm near Scio, Oregon.
To find out more about our farm and what we do, check out Pasture Raised.
To find out about the pasture-raised products we have available and how to place an order, check out How to Buy.
To find out more about life on the farm and tips for cooking pasture-raised meat, visit our Farm Blog.
If you would like us to let you know when we have additional farm products for sale, or to give us feedback, send us a note and please sign up for our newsletter.
Anchor Ranch was previously part of a multi-generational family ranch and farm dating back to before Oregon was even a state! A previous owner named it "Anchor Ranch" in homage to the United States Coast Guard. When we bought it from his children, we liked the name so much that we kept it. When an anchor is fulfilling its purpose, we don't see it. It lies underwater, beneath the ship which it keeps safe. Like the roots of the quintessential oak tree in the middle of our farm, it's the things underneath, which we don't always see, that make healthy soil and a healthy community, and thus a good farm and good food.
Crop farming is almost unbelievably extractive. It takes a lot of resources to grow tomatoes from dirt, and when the tomatoes are picked and trucked off somewhere else, very few of those resources make it back into the local soil, even with the best composting program. Conventional farming might be reasonably compared to strip-mining the soil. Some methods of organic farming can be less extractive, but others are not. We don’t have anything against conventional farmers or miners: these are choices they make with the information and resources they have, and we support working families regardless of their livelihood, so long as it’s legal and ethical. But we don’t have any interest in strip mining the soil on our family farm.
In nature, animal manure returns many of those soil resources to the local soil. In addition, the act of grazing within reason prompts plants to make better use of the available resources to regrow even stronger before animals return to graze again. And, in nature, animals almost never stay in one place for long. They graze some, and then either because of predator pressure or because palatability of forage declines, they move on to “greener pastures”, allowing the places they have been to rest and recover. Mirroring this natural animal behavior as much as possible lets us regenerate soil fertility and ecological health.
Regenerative Agriculture is a holistic process of managing a farm in a way that adds rather than extracts. Plant two trees for every one you harvest. Add natural nutrients to the soil, not poisonous chemicals. In place of a tractor, use animals, doing what they want to do anyways, to combat weeds and pests and deposit fertilizer. Support and invest in the local community, rather than paying the lowest wages possible to ship a product to consumers who will never even know where it comes from.
The land of Anchor Ranch Farm had previously been farmed in conventional cereal grains for over 30+ years. The soils are depleted of organic matter. Field edges are rife with invasive blackberry thicket, ox-eye daisy, and other invasive plants. Thomas Creek flows past the North and Northwest edge of the farm, so there is a real risk that any dangerous agricultural chemicals could run off into the local watershed. We choose to use natural animal behavior to help us revitalize the soil and combat invasive weeds. With no chemical spraying, we don’t risk endangering the local watershed. With no mechanical tilling, we don’t lose any more precious topsoil to runoff in the rainy season. Over time, animal manure helps build soil fertility as we convert conventional cropland to no spray grazing pasture. We don’t begrudge cereal farmers or crop farmers their livelihood: perhaps future generations at Anchor Ranch Farm will choose to plow and plant crops and thus make use of our investment in building healthy, natural soil today. We’re investing for the future; our investment is in healthy, natural soil and a healthy, natural farm ecology.