I first heard the term ‘sustainable agriculture’ while reading the December 1995 edition of National Geographic. It was a relatively new term back then, popping up amid the organic farming movement to encompass something more. Though no certain definition could be created for ‘sustainable agriculture’, it did find three common core aspects: economically viable, environmentally friendly, and socially acceptable.
Agriculture hasn’t always been sustainable here at Stratford. Early tobacco farming was very hard on the soil, depleting it of the vital nutrients needed to sustain plant growth. Today, it is the soil that we most look after in order to promote a vibrant agriculture system.
One example of maintaining healthy soil comes with our cattle and rotational grazing. In working with Lakota Ranch of Culpeper, Virginia, we maintain a healthy Devon herd that is completely grass fed and finished. We rotate the herd through our seven pastures, ensuring quality forage for their needs. The pastures provide a diverse variety of grass and plants for their diet, all the while keeping the soil fertile and healthy. We test the soil every two years and apply only those nutrients that it has become deficient in.
This is but one of our numerous sustainable agriculture initiatives we have here at Stratford. Please be sure to come by and look at some of the others that employ!