Necessity is the mother of miracles: Kansas farm to build non-GMO feed hub

By Arianne Pfoutz
Published: December 27, 2014
Category: Non-GMO Farmer Profiles

Rosanna Bauman of Cedar Valley Farms

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Bauman’s Cedar Valley Farms, near Garnett, Kansas, has just received an unexpected, much-needed gift. The family farm beat out 20 other entrepreneurs to win a three-year, $60,000 interest-free loan from Slow Money. Their plan is to create a non-GMO grain “feed hub” and cooperative that would grind and sprout local non-GMO grains and fodder to provide a consistent supply of non-GMO feed for livestock.

“Unless we create our own GMO-free feed supply,” wrote Rosanna Bauman in the company’s application for the loan, “we stand to lose markets that we have established over the last 13 years. I know of close to 100 nearby farmers who want to grow non-GMO grains or who need access to feed.”

The Kansas City Food Circle, a voluntary farmers’ collective that the Baumans belong to, is requiring that farmers use only non-GMO feed by 2016 if they want to retain membership.

Bauman’s Cedar Valley Farms was launched in 2001 by Rosanna’s parents, John and Yvonne, who had no farming experience. All six children helped to develop a diversified farm that incorporates 15 different enterprises, including organically raised pastured poultry and eggs; 100 percent grass-fed beef; non-GMO grains and hay, and operation of a USDA approved on-farm poultry processing plant—the only one in Kansas.

“Our vision was to create a small, sustainable, diversified farm,” Rosanna says. “But for the last ten years, in spite of growing non-GMO grains, we had no way to mill and sprout them—our old grinder mill died. If we have the right equipment, we can replace 80 percent of our poultry’s grain diet with fodder—which is 88 percent less expensive than bagged poultry feeds.”

With banks gun-shy to loan money for the niche products, a source of capital was essential. “In doing the Slow Money application, the vision of a feed hub came together. Mine was the only plan offering a regional solution to GMO issues,” Rosanna says. “Then another miracle—we won!”

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