Our Regenerative Journey

Established Caledonia Hills Livestock

July, 2020

We started our farm, Caledonia Hills Livestock, in July of 2020. We needed a place to get away and enjoy life. Tucked in the Baraboo Bluffs, our rolling pastures are surrounded by beautiful views and diverse wildlife.

Built Fence.... Lots of Fence....

September, 2020

After we determined rotational grazing is what our land was best suited for, we immediately got to work fencing. We needed to establish a good foundation that would keep our cattle safe and on our property. Though we fenced as we needed to, starting with the perimeter and a ton of temporary fence; fencing became our entire summer for 3 years. There is not a worse call than one from your neighbor asking if your cows are out... 450 corner posts, 4500 t-posts, and miles of wire later, we can finally say this 3-year project has come to an end.

Moved the Cows In

October, 2020

Halloween of 2020 marked our largest milestone to date, and maybe even moving forward for our farm. We got to bring Nicole's childhood herd home. We loved our hilltop farm, but it just was not home without the cows. Though it may seem insignificant, without cows, our methods of practicing regenerative agriculture would not be possible.

Converted to Pasture

May, 2021

In the spring of 2021, we set to seeding down all of our fields in a multi-species pasture mix. Planting diverse species creates an ecosystem that will work in harmony. One of our core managing principles is KISS. Nature has evolved to maximize resources, so who knows better than Mother Nature herself when it comes to keeping land healthy. Certain plants do better than others when it comes to building key nutrients in the soil. When the composition of species is balanced, the ecosystem really starts to thrive. We really noticed the ecosystem come full circle when you look into the soil and see life, then you look to the sky and see birds again. The birds are a farm favorite... We had to buy a book so we can count and identify all of the different species that started to show up.

Established Caledonia Market

May, 2022

At the end of 2021, we were struggling with how to pay the farm's bills. We loved the work, but were having a hard time justifying the incredible expense. We knew we needed to increase our direct sales, but did not have a market. We figured that if we were having this issue, than surely other producers were too. Customers wanted our products, but did not know where to find us. So, in May of 2022, Caledonia Market was born. Caledonia Market serves as a storefront for local consumers to find local producers. We have our beef in there as well as 25 other local vendors with the goal of simplifying our food system, and getting back to a community focused form of commerce.

Discovered Dry Matter Solids

September, 2022

In talking with a customer of ours who works at the methane digesting plant in Madison, we discovered a hidden secret to help us feed our soil. A byproduct of harvesting methane from manure is dry matter solids. It is all of the plant particles that are left after the moisture has been removed. This product is incredibly high in vital nutrients for our soil. It not only provides those nutrients, but critical organic matter to build up our soil. My favorite part? The fact that we are reusing a green waste product in substitution of chemical pelletized fertilizer. To us, this is an important step of regenerative agriculture. Using byproducts within the operation to reduce waste and minimize the carbon footprint we leave.

Installed Water System

June, 2023

Once we had our pastures planted and fields fenced in, we began rotating the cattle through the fields. We had a few learning curves, but we eventually got a pretty cool system going. The downside to how we were doing things was that we always needed a temporary lane to get the cows back to a centralized drinking point. This introduced friction for the cows as the lanes were always changing and though they are smart, they are creatures of habit. The other downside is that after a cow drinks, she does her business. We were leaving valuable food for the soil in the cow yard... what a waste. Our solution was to have a flexible water system throughout our entire pasture. This would make rotations easier on us and reduce stress on the cows. To top it all off, the cows provide a more even spread of plant food on the field, increasing our nutrient density in the soil. Sounds like a WIN, WIN, WIN!

Enjoy the Daily Moves

August, 2023

Once we got our major parts and pieces in, moving the cows everyday went from being a chore, to being our form of meditation. It is our time to slow down and enjoy each other's company, listen to the rhythm of cows grazing fresh grass, and soak in all the sights and sounds our farm has to offer. We have noticed how beneficial moving the cattle is to our mental health. It is no secret that the agricultural community has been battling mental health issues, and our regenerative journey has given us a tool to ground ourselves, slow down, and smell the roses.

To Be Continued.....

Our regenerative journey is far from over... In fact it has just begun! Signup for our newsletter below to receive awesome stories from the farm!