Turning onto the gravel driveway one’s eyes immediately gravitate to the roof of the two story house. Twenty four solar panels cover the south side of the house and attached garage, which were installed eight years ago. In addition there are many south facing windows to catch the low angle of the winter sun . The back of the bottom story faces north and is buried in dirt for insulation.
If you have ever driven on old 44, just southeast of town, you might have noticed in the middle of the fields, a small house-like structure. And perhaps on a different day you spotted that same structure but most definitely in a different field. Happily, your sense are, in fact, sound and can be explained by an uncommon agricultural practice: the mobile chicken coop. While not a new concept, this unique and innovative practice is certainly not standard amongst the farms one finds in South Dakota.
Anne Waltner returns to this agriculturally-rooted land for the love of community
As conventional, commodity oriented farmers struggle with low commodity prices and a burdensome debt load, grassland farming might provide an attractive option.
Tom and Jenna Graber grew up with an interest in animals and agriculture, but came at it from different perspectives. Now, after marrying in 2014, they farm together 7 miles south of Marion. Jenna and Tom Graber started farming together in 2014, the same year they were married. Their farm is located 7 miles south of Marion, and features a commercial cow/ calf operation and minimum tillage crops.