KW Farms, Alamosa, CO
John and Trudi Kretsinger began KW Farms in the San Luis Valley in 1990. They introduced grazing to their operation in 1996 when they became certified organic. In their experience, there is nothing like animal impact to improve soil health and enhance organic crop production. Some of their neighbors thought they should be certified insane because of their crazy approach to agriculture, including grass-finishing cattle. But as water supplies and commodity prices declined, pasture-based farming began to make sense as an alternative to potato and small grain production. Unfortunately, there were few markets at the time for grass-fed beef, and instead of being on the “leading edge” they often felt they were on the “bleeding edge”. However they kept at it because they were convinced it was the best thing for the animals, the land, and for people.
In 2003 they formed a partnership with George Whitten and Julie Sullivan of San Juan Ranch, who had similar interest in producing high quality beef fed entirely on grass. It was quite a relief to find like-minded cattle producers. Working collaboratively, they addressed production issues, sought existing markets, and developed a more value-added approach to direct sales that was more affordable and less space-demanding than the traditional “quarter and half” sales model. The collaboration made it possible to keep going while American consumers learned about grass-fed beef. The Kretsingers boast that some of their best customers are vegetarians – people who value good food, and understand that a well marbled grass-fed rib eye is closer to being a vegetable than a lot of vegetables you might find out there.
For more information on KW Farms, check us out on our website: www.kwfarms.net