We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Tim to learn about life on Stand Fast Farm, where more than 85 cattle graze and forage freely on open pasture, eating only natural grasses. We’re proud to have carried his beef for more than three years and to provide local, sustainably-raised beef to our shoppers.
“It just makes sense.”
Tim grew up in Freedonia, New York, on a grape farm. Farming didn’t seem like a future for him, so he went to college to study biochemistry. One day he looked up from his lab bench out of a window to a sunny field; he knew that was where he had to be. So when he graduated, instead of continuing on as a biochemist, he did an internship in Idaho on a free range cattle ranch. Unlike factory farming, raising grass-fed, free range cattle not only produces better quality beef, but it puts less strain on both the animal and our environment. When Tim returned to western New York, he bought his first cattle and began building his own grass-fed, free range cattle ranch.
Tim feels a very personal conviction about raising his cattle in what he considers a more sane, sensible way. The grass-feed beef movement in the United States came to prominence through the advocacy of farmers like Joel Salatin, a leading voice for the use of holistic management methods for animal husbandry. In fact, Tim went with his father to Virginia to visit Salatin’s farm to learn right from the expert about how grass-fed cattle raising is done.
Tying tradition to sustainable farming
While following a commitment to new methods of sustainable farming, the traditions Tim inherits also remain valuable guides for him. For instance, the farm’s name, “Stand Fast,” derives from the Scottish Gaelic motto that coincides with his Scottish last name, Grant. He chose this because it represents the commitment he has made to showing that grass-fed cattle raising (along with other sustainable farming methods) can be a viable means of livelihood for farmers in western New York. A practicing Christian, Tim believes that raising cattle in a sustainable way is in sync with God’s intentions.
No easy work
“It’s certainly not easy, and it can take a lot longer than other methods, but I think it’s worth it,” Tim explained.
Caring for nearly a hundred cattle is very hard work. Luckily, Tim is surrounded by his family, who help with the important tasks that are fundamental to operating a viable agricultural business. Rachel, his wife, manages the farm’s Facebook page, where you can get a great inside look into life on the farm. Tim’s brother also helps with the arduous task of putting up hay, a key aspect of grass-fed cattle raising since it sustains the animals through the winter on the pasture-grown grasses.
“If I didn’t have the support of Abundance and Lexington [Buffalo’s NCGA co-op, visit their website here], I wouldn’t be able to do this,” Tim said to describe how much he valued the market opportunity that food co-ops can offer small, entrepreneurial farmers like him. We’re certainly grateful to be able to sell his local, humanely raised, and quality beef.
Tim and Rachel have a little boy named Micah.