“We have been here since March 28, 2012. It was all cornfield,” said Robert Ortcoff. “We came out here specifically for farming. The USDA had a grant which helped if you had animals, but you had to have animals first. I applied for the grant, put up fencing, then I gave up on the grant.

“The farm runs without electricity. We run totally on solar and wind power,” Ortcoff continued. “Why do I need electricity? We have a simple solar pump system for water. I check it once a week and I turn it on when the water is low. This system is used out west a lot. “We don’t raise typical animals here. We have registered Tamworth hogs, the ‘bacon pig’. They are long and lanky and lean. We sold one to a 4-Her who raised it and took it to the Fair. It didn’t even get an award because the judge said it was ‘too lean. It needs more weight.’ Tamworth pigs don’t get fat.

“We raise Katahdin sheep, ‘hair sheep’. There are six breeds of hair sheep in the USA. Wool carries lanolin which gives the mutton a lanolin flavor. The meat of hair sheep has a different flavor.

'We have free range, organic chickens and sell their eggs. They are Heritage Reds, a heritage breed, and we only sell them locally. We have Pilgrim geese, an Australian breed, which is rare in the United States, and Silver Appleyard ducks.XXXXXXXXXX “We do not sell pork chops. We will sell a whole hog or a half hog. We sell lamb. From a 120 pound lamb, you will only get about 50 pounds of meat. We only use registered slaughterhouses. I like the one in Clinton. They are close and do a good job.

“We sell turkeys for Thanksgiving only. We take them to a USDA facility in Wisconsin. There are no good food processors within a three hour drive.

“I respect my animals. I give them the best life they can have and they will only have one bad day.”

Thornpaw Lea Farm in located at 510 N. Menge Road.



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