The roots on our farm are now five generations deep. Christian Manthe traveled from Germany in 1869 searching for a better life for his family. They found it right here in Henry County, Illinois where he and his wife, Henrietta, raised their ten children and farmed these beautiful rolling hills. Their youngest son and Monte's great grandfather, William, would be the one to continue farming this piece of the family farm.
Fast forward 150 years and we find ourselves farming more like our great great grandparents than we ever imagined. Our goal is bringing diversity back to our land through livestock and cover crops and one day vegetable and tree crops. Our daily challenges are finding ways to use technology to improve, reduce or remove outdated farming practices and to create the very best living environment for the livestock in our care.
Having spent the last 50 years removing fences and old structures from our farm land we are now challenged with finding ways to graze and contain the livestock. Because we move the livestock daily, everything needs to be portable. We utilize solar panels, battery power, portable pumps, electric fencing and guardian dogs to keep the livestock protected, watered and fed. Any buildings or structures also need to be portable so they can move with the animals.
Our livestock have become a "crop rotation" on our crop ground. We still grow corn and soybeans but now have added wheat, cover crop mixes and grazing livestock to what was once our monocrop system. It's exciting to see the changes that are happening in our soil and we are convinced now more than ever that we are on the right path using regenerative farming practices.
The holistic grazing methods we use are producing a quality meat product that many people are finding to be their preference. Both for flavor and the health benefits. We have never backed down from a business challenge so finding USDA processors, creating labels and packaging, installing freezers and storage, creating an online website with shopping capabilities, creating farmer's market displays and a marketing plan, developing a packing/shipping protocol and delivering an outstanding product directly to the customer's door was a part of the process we embraced. Raising the animals became the easy part of the equation!
We are transparent in our farming practices offering group tours, social media posts and videos of how we do daily life with our livestock, and one on one appointments are also available by making an appointment. You can be a part of our regenerative farm by educating your self through a tour, sharing what you've learned with others, and by supporting us with the purchase of our products. We hope to see you here on our farm!
Monte and Robyn Bottens