Timothée Lesage: Crown Ranch, Winthrop, Washington

MESA is excited to hear news from our current Stewards! Tim shares stories from Crown Ranch, below:

My name is Tim and I’m from France. I’m doing an internship at Crown Ranch in Winthrop, WA. It’s a local, sustainable and certified organic pasture meat farm. Moreover, the concept of humanely raised animals is a very important creed for the owner Louis Sukovaty.

He grows his own cereals and hay to prepare the animal feed. He uses a rotation system (cereals, hay and pasture) of his fields. The animals’ manure fertilizes the soil and alternating between hay (my host grows alfalfa) and the cereals, so the soil is never empty of nutrients.

I’m currently learning this system, and we started to seed two weeks ago. After the seeding, irrigation is crucial. It’s getting quite hot right now, therefore we must be careful of the “dry zone” in the fields.

The cereals and the hay are to feed the animals, so this brings us to this second activity. Indeed, if you can only grass feed (or hay depending the season) the sheep and cows, you have to give some supplementary diet to the pigs and the poultry. And the mix is different depending the animals and how old they are (you cannot feed the same way an hens or a broiler because the need of nutrients is not the same). The proportion of nutrients in the feed (protein, fat, calcium …) is really important to maintain good health.

About an average day in the farm: it always starts by feeding the animals (rabbits, baby turkeys, broilers, poultry, pigs, sheep and cows). It could take up to 2 hours. We usually spend the rest of the morning moving the different irrigation (wheel lines and sprinklers) and/or moving animals to new pastures. After the lunch break, there are more irrigation lines to move, preparing the feed mix for the different animals and random chores as fencing.

About my cultural experiences? Last week I’ve been to a parade called “the 49ers” in Winthrop and supporting some of my family’s members to join in a relay marathon. And there’s a farm party on the 25th of May!