Sustainable Producer Spotlight Series ~ Past Submissions:
Darby Springs Farm
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Darby Springs Farm is a small, 40-acre farm located in the saline wetlands of the tall grass prairie of Nebraska. The farm is located just east of Ceresco, North of Lincoln and southwest of Omaha. William and Crystal Powers began Darby Springs Farm in 2009.
Darby Springs Farm is a pastured poultry and grass-fed dairy operation.
"While we'll have other ventures and components, my wife's and my background with dairy and poultry allow for those to be the focus," William said. "We'll have a fruit orchard, working horses, farm store, a farm brewery using anything we can grow on the farm as well agri-tourism opportunities from bird watching and hunting to bikers. We'll also have a market garden among other ventures down the road."
The farm site has several advantages, William said. First, the farm is in a saline wetland, which allows for most of the soil to be sub irrigated. This also means it is ideally suited for pasture-based systems.
Also, the location means cattail are quite prevalent: the Powers have used the cattail after it has matured as a source of bedding for animals over the winter. Another advantage is that the wetland attracts numerous birds, insects, and other beneficial wildlife that contributes greatly to the health of the farm.
"A disadvantage is also that the wetland allows limited access to all parts of the farm, which makes us get creative with how to get the animals grazing in all parts of the farm," said William.
The farm uses several forms of marketing. "Our biggest is the use of social media," he said. "We maintain a blog, use Twitter and Facebook. We also are working on creating an interactive website. We also participate in the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society, which helps us to network with fellow farmers using sustainable practices, as well as consumers interested in our products. And we participate in the National Young Farmers Coalition which allows us to network with young farmers throughout the country on similar journeys."
The Powers manage and work the farm with the help of their young son, Alden. They have taken advantage of ATTRA resources, particularly calendars and archived webinars.
"Darby Springs Farm is grass-based and focused on sustainable agriculture and holistic management principles," William said. "We believe sustainable agriculture is a journey, a journey towards sustainability. We believe certain practices and principles provide a compass on that journey.
"For us there are three main components of sustainability which include economic viability, social/community awareness and involvement, and environmental awareness and stewardship. Some of these practices we try to enact on our small farm include no-till, utilizing on-farm resources, mini-mob/multi-species pasture stacking/rotational grazing, selling locally, organic beekeeping, cover crops and more."
Darby Springs Farm's website is www.facebook.com/darbyspringsfarm
The Sustainable Producer Spotlight is offered as a celebration of those who practice sustainable and organic agriculture and is not intended as an endorsement of the featured operations or products.
This page was last updated on: December 15, 2014