[158] Greg Judy - Famous Farmer

4m | Jan 22, 2024

"With every new species we bring to the farm, it supports 8 more who can thrive. That's promoting biodiversity"

Let's learn about Greg Judy

Greg was born in 1960 on a dairy farm in northern Minnesota. His family moved to Missouri in 1966, mainly to escape the cold long winters

Greg Judy started milking the family cow at 7, a routine he continued until leaving home after high school. Providing fresh milk for the family fueled his early passion for farming, creating a lasting connection to the land and its rhythms

1993-95, Greg acquired 205 acres, combining his Uncle and Dad's farms at $350-$400 per acre. A 10% down payment connected the plots, incorporating challenges with neglected land, cedars, and erosion. Relying on his town job to meet farm payments without starving

With many challenges on his 200-acre farm, Greg encountered a farmer with premier pasture on 160 acres during a drought. Introduced to Management Intensive Grazing, Greg enrolled in a grazing school and subscribed to Stockman Grass Farmer. Needing a change to avoid lifelong debt

During the 3 day grazing school, Greg slept in his camper to save money. Trapped by floods one night, he found high ground and camped, unbothered by the constant rain. He learned about forages, fences, and herd health. Eager to apply newfound knowledge, he hurried home

Allan Nation warned about the cattle crash and despite initially planning to increase his herd, Greg sold everything. In February 1996, he swiftly bought back all his cows shortly afterward, making strategic moves considering the drop in cow prices, actually making a farm payment

However, that summer Greg faced a another blow - discovering his wife's manic depression, leading to divorce. The financial strain intensified as divorce and farm payments depleted all available cash and cattle. Greg felt hopeless and looked like the farm was finished

Greg wrote up a contract to graze rodeo horses and that covered the six months of farm payments. Then, another Allan Nation article shifted his perspective. Rather than just land ownership, focus on making a living from the land. He started looking for unused pastures to lease

No ownership stress, Greg sells his management skills, developing idle land for grass gain on stockers. This let Greg pay off his farm and house in 3 years. He faced financial struggles, now shares experiences to guide young graziers, emphasizing the pitfalls of land ownership

Greg Judy now owns 4 farms & leases 12 more

1600 acres total

900 is timber

700 is grass

Green Pastures Farm offers pastured pigs, sheep, chickens, grassfed beef, shiitake mushrooms, some lumber, & furniture

Greg uses "mob grazing" trying to emulate the natural systems of the prairie when the buffalo roamed

2 mobs, about 300 animals in a mob. Move twice a day. Combine your herds for more horsepower to build your soil

Pasture ratio: 30% grazed, 30% trampled, 30% left standing

For the woods, first thing is to run your cattle in there at high density. Trample, cow pee and poop to fertilize the ground. Let Mother nature take over. No seeding. Only take the pigs through the timber once a year, let the timber recover

Wanting to get more forage in the woods so that the sunlight hits all sides of every mature tree, thin out the smaller ones. He took out 70% of the trees and inoculated them with shiitake mushrooms

Thank you very much for listening. 

Links in the show notes for the articles and videos referenced here.

If there’s another farmer you’d like me to cover, send me a message! @farmhoplife on all the social medias or

Go feed yourself.

source 1, source 2, source 3, source 4

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