Milligan Creek Farm – October 2014 – Featured Farm

Lewisburg, WV

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Milligan Creek Farm is Greenbrier Valley Grown’s Featured Farm for the Month of October. Scott and Joanna Kiddle, the farm’s owners and stewards, raise Black Angus and Scottish Highland cattle and have created a High-Angus crossbreed, which produces extremely cute fluff-ball looking calves.  When I arrived to tour the farm on a bright autumn afternoon, Joanna had her arms around Clover, a High-Angus heifer she had bottle-fed since birth. It’s unusual for cows to have twins, and when the twins are of both sexes, like Clover and her brother Aster, the female is usually sterile, a “freemartin”.  Instead of going to the meat processor, Clover will live out her days on the farm’s 305 acres of mixed pasture, field, and forest around Muddy Creek Mountain.

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At Milligan Creek the farmers are involved in every aspect of the cattle’s life cycle, from breeding, to cutting and curing the hay needed for winter; it all happens on the farm.  All of the calves are created the old fashion way.  The breeding cows are rotated into the pasture with one of the two bulls: Prophet, a dapper Black Angus, and Bruce, a stoic Scottish Highland. The Kiddles breed their cattle throughout the year so they have a consistent supply of grass-fed beef.  “We love our animals” Joanna tells me, “They are like our extended family.”  Not only do they know all 100 head by name but they also spend a lot of time working on the ground with them.  The cattle are so friendly and comfortable around people, they walk right up and beg to be petted.  “This is a low stress, happy environment for the cattle from beginning to end.” Joanna says. 

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The Kiddles have been steadily increasing their herd size since 2007.  “We bought a cow before we even moved into the farmhouse” says Scott, who has worked with cows most of his life.  The most recent project on Milligan Creek Farm is, with the help of the Natural Resource Conservation Service, fencing in more pastures for rotational grazing, preserving wildlife habitat and protecting waterways from contamination. The rotational grazing practices, enabled by the new fencing, will increase soil fertility and quality of the grasslands for even healthier, happier cows. The steers which eventually become Milligan Creek beef spend two full years on the farm before they go anywhere near a dinner plate.  All of the meat is USDA inspected and dry aged for flavor and tenderness.  You can find Scott and Joanna and their beef every Saturday at the Greenbrier Valley Farmers Market in Lewisburg.  They also welcome on-farm sales and special orders, so give them a call and don’t be shy to say hello. When you get to know your farmer, you get to know your food.

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