Conservationists eat. To be interested in food but not in food production is clearly absurd ... If conservationists will attempt to resume responsibility for their need to eat, they will be led back fairly directly to all their previous concerns for the welfare of nature.”
About the Farm
Meadowlark Organics farm and mill is a result of a unique relationship, spurred by the vision and spirit of Paul Bickford. Paul farmed in Ridgeway since 1978, first milking cows before transitioning to organic grains & legumes. Thinking about the future of his farm, Paul placed an ad in 2015 looking for a young couple to join him as partners. John & Halee Wepking, who returned to Wisconsin to farm after meeting and working in NYC restaurants, answered the ad. Since the partnership began that year, they shifted the focus of the farm to growing milling grains and other specialty food crops such as edible dry beans and open-pollinated flint corn.
They began a mill in the spring of 2021 on the farm, called Meadowlark Community Mill, where they mill their own grain as well as grain from farmers around the region. They are committed to growing the highest quality, and healthiest, feed and food crops possible. With the focus on small grains, they have extended the farm's rotation from four years to seven, including milling spring and winter wheat, spelt, rye, and buckwheat alongside the common crops such as alfalfa, soybeans, corn, and oats. Attempting to reduce tillage where they can, they use a roller-crimper to terminate rye before planting no-till soybeans. Meadowlark Organics considers it their responsibility to protect and improve the soil, the quality of their watershed, and the diverse ecosystem in which they work and live.
Paul Bickford was an innovator, an informed decision-maker, a visionary, a mentor, and a friend and colleague to many. He died at age 69 from a farm accident in late August 2022. Read Margaret Krome’s remembrance of Paul’s life here.
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