Coon's Age Farm is dedicated to raising produce and livestock in what we call an ethecological manner. As a family of ecologists, we strive to incorporate long-sighted management to our farm incorporating efforts to diversify the vegetation and animal life inhabiting our farm, and adjacent areas, too. At the heart of farming well is the incorporation of methods, practices, and views that promote ecological sustainability. We are working hard to increase the ecological resilience of our farm through permaculture, sylvipasture, wildlife plantings, and carbon sequestering efforts. We are a Family Farm, in the true sense of the word, that being, we all (five of us) partake daily in the care and maintenance of the farm and its animals.
We work to promote a local economy and sustainable, ethical, and ecological farming as we join biological research, natural history, and hands-on experiences to celebrate the wisdom and power mirrored in the natural world. In short, we are Agrarians--people committed to ethically stewarding the lands in our care. Hence, we do not use antibiotics, growth hormones, or insecticides on our animals nor do we use synthetic chemicals on the soils supporting us all.
Coon's Age Farm lies in south-central Montana at just about 4000 feet above sea level. Situated in the Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone Valley, we have a short growing season, and are nestled between the Line Creek Plateau and the Pryor Mountains. The plateau is a thumb sticking northeastward from the Beartooth Plateau, proper, a grand sweeping land of alpine tundra, glacial tarns, and butterflies. At over 10,000 feet, the Line Creek Plateau intercepts moisture and keeps us in her rainshadow as we lie about 6-8 miles leeward. It is a place of little rain, cold windy winters, and cool nights yielding high brix and nutrition scores in our pastures, hay, and produce. These blessings can also be trials as frost comes late in the spring and early in the fall and winter winds desiccate dormant vegetation. Wildlife abounds in this portion of the GYE and Coon's Age Farm provides habitat for many animals, large and small, from tiger beetles and Loggerhead Shrikes to cougars.
Following organic and ecological farming methods, we raise "Family-Milk Cows" and heritage breeds like Galloway Cattle, Shetland Sheep, Haflinger Horses (trained to ride and drive), and English Shepherds. Cashmere Goats, we raise for their fiber, as well. We raise and handpick strawberries and various garden produce including heirloom varieties such as Black Valentine Beans and Bachicha Beans. Jersey Giant-, Buff Orpington-, and Wyandotte-influenced locally adapted hens free-range year round so farm-fresh eggs are also usually available, but, one must beat the neighbors!
As we move our fields into permanent cover (permaculture) through a sylvipastural venue we will also be increasing the capacity for our soils to sequester Carbon. Additionally, by not planting, tilling, and harvesting row crops Coon's Age Farm reduces carbon dioxide emissions by over 16.3 metric tonnes annually. We have estimated that with every acre we maintain in permanent grass, legume, and tree cover 1.75 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide can be sequestered annually. Hence, we have the capacity to grab onto about 290 tonnes per year! If you would like to help us reach this goal by off-setting some of your carbon emissions directly and through on(in)-the-ground efforts learn more here.
We welcome farm tours and visitors can grab a shovel and help us irrigate the hayfields and pastures listening for the singing of chorus frogs and the winnowing of snipe. We also offer natural history tours of the farm and adjacent wild areas hoping to foster appreciation and knowledge of this oft-overlooked part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and how local cultures and economies can assist in its conservation.
Eric & Melonie
Katie, Callie & Aislee Atkinson
Coon's Age Farm
99 Lovers Lane
Belfry, MT 59008
Give Us A Holler
Small Farmer's Journal
Tree Walkers International
American Galloway Association
American Haflinger Registry
English Shepherd Club
Clark's Fork Water Quality