Our Story

written by

Aila Holley

posted on

March 20, 2021

In January of 2018 we moved back home to Colorado with the dream of starting a farm and raising our kids in a way few people get to experience anymore. We wanted to make a positive impact on the food system, the environment and how our animals were raised. What has grown out of that dream over the last 3 years is way beyond what we could have expected. We have so much support from our local community and discovered there are SO many people looking for food they can trust, wanting to support family farms and traditions. Our kids, The Farmhands 1, 2, 3, and 4, have had many amazing experiences and lesson that would not have been possible in Los Angeles. I think the pictures here say more than I possibly can.

On the other hand this life we have picked is hard! We knew it would be but also exceeded our expectations of how hard it can really be. It's every day in every season, it's from sun up to dark (and often beyond), it's bigger expenses than planned, it's not traveling places as a family, it's me working out of state in the winter to help us be able to do more in the summer. All of the hard is worth it when we see the kids taking care of their animals, jumping into help with chores, getting to play in the mud, run freely through the fields. It's worth it when our neighbors tell us how much they love to see the chickens scratching around in the field, the piglets playing, the cows out grazing. It's worth it to hear from our customers how much they enjoyed meals with family that included something we raised.

Those things make the hard days less hard, but right now we are faced with the very real fact that all this work could be lost if Ballot Initiative 16 also known as the PAUSE act passes. First off let me say one of the most important principles for us is how are animals live and are cared for. Our goal is to give them the best life possible and in exchange they give us their life to feed us. We treat them with respect and allow them to be outside and living like they should. I don't try to be political, I believe one of the greatest gifts we have in this country is our right to vote and vote what matches what is true to our own beliefs. I do ask that if you are asked to sign a petition to get Ballot Initiative 16 on the ballot for 2021 that you really understand what it means. When you read the wording of it, it truly sounds like it's going to protect animals and give them the best. What it will do is make it nearly impossible for farmers and ranchers in the state of Colorado to raise livestock in a sustainable way. We would not be able to use artificial insemination, check cattle for pregnancy, assist livestock in birthing if necessary. More than that it would also control when we could process animals for meat, making it impossible to raise them to sell as a reasonable priced product and still make a living.

I'll use chickens as an example right now we pasture raise chicken from April to October. They come to us as day old chicks and spend 3 weeks getting doted on while they feather up and get ready to be outside, they then spend the next 5 weeks on pasture getting daily moves to fresh grass, before we process them on farm. If this passed, chickens would have to be 2 years old before we could process them. The breed we raise would not live that long and ones that do do not produce the kind of meat you expect chicken to be. More over we then have to feed and house those birds for two years in a place where half that time is hard winter. The feed costs alone to produce a 4 pound chicken processed at the age of 2 would be $150. Add to that winter housing of the birds, labor and other costs and we'd have to charge roughly $50/lb for chicken just to break even. We'd also only be able to raise a fraction of what we do now so the quantity would be very limited. This Initiative if passed would be devastating to farmers, ranches, the economy and food system in Colorado. Please educate yourself and others about what it would truly mean for our state.

I appreciate your time to read this and I'm happy to answer any questions.



Ballot Initiative 16


Prop 16

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