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Around Hundred Happy Acres Farm, the focus isn’t on growing a profitable crop or raising livestock to rush to market.
For the Lofald family, owners of the farm, it’s about eating without chemicals, land stewardship and the circle of life.
“We want our kids to know where their food comes from,” Kenneth Lofald said. “We involve them with everything.”
Kenneth Lofald and his wife Emily moved to the rural Owen County farm in the Jonesville area in 2009 and soon started a family.
The couple embraced the land and dedicated themselves to promoting forest stewardship and a more natural way of doing things. No pesticides, hormones or chemicals are used on the plants or animals at Hundred Happy Acres. The potential impact the family may have on the land is thoroughly considered before any pond is dug, tree cut down or animal is allowed to graze.
“It’s important to us that we take care of the land,” Kenneth Lofald said. “We want to preserve things while improving conditions for the plants and animals.”
That consideration is paying dividends for the family.
As they continue walk their property, the Lofalds have found several rare plants including running buffalo clover which is considered an endangered species.
Samples of running buffalo clover have been taken from the family’s farm by the Cincinnati Zoo and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife in hopes of continuing the species.
“They have been pretty successful growing it at the Cincinnati Zoo,” Kenneth Lofald said.
Emily Lofald said the care they take with the trees and plant life extends to their livestock that includes turkeys, ducks, chickens, and sheep along with one pig and one dairy cow,
In the next few weeks, the couple hopes the cow will start to provide fresh milk for their sons Logan and Silas.
“We try to preserve heritage breeds (of animals),” Emily Lofald said. “It’s responsible use of the land and caring for the animals that’s important.”
With plenty of animals freely grazing the property, Emily Lofald said it’s a great way for the kids to grow up.
“They have plenty of fun with all the animals,” Emily Lofald said. “But they realize that a lot of these animals are food but that doesn’t stop them from caring about them.”
Kenneth and Emily Lofald weren’t raised on a farm and had to learn from scratch about how to make the venture successful and environmentally friendly. They have done extensive research on how to lessen the footprint the farm makes.
Although the couple praises the assistance offered by the Owen County Soil Conservation District and the help it has offered, the Lofalds often turn to the Internet for help.
“Thank goodness for Youtube,” Kenneth Lofald said. “There are videos on there for just about anything and a lot of times, we have had to learn by doing things twice.”
For their efforts, the Lofalds have been recognized by several groups and received an award in 2013 for outstanding forest stewardship for the Northern Kentucky region.
Recently, Hundred Happy Acres was certified as Animal Welfare Approved, a designation that lets consumers know these animals are raised in accordance with the highest animal welfare standards in the U.S. and Canada, using sustainable agriculture methods on an independent family farm.
It is the first farm in Owen County to receive this certification and one of only eight in the commonwealth of Kentucky.
“The accountability and integrity offered by Animal Welfare Approved farmers like (the Lofalds) are unmatched in food production,” AWA Program Director Andrew Gunther said. “We’re glad to have Hundred Happy Acres in the AWA family.”
Although the Lofalds sell their excess, the family isn’t quite ready to sell directly to consumers.
“These are premium products and they carry a premium price,” Kenneth Lofald said. “It will take time for people to adjust to that and hopefully, at some point we can sell directly to people.”