The story of Carter's Honey Creek Farm in Howard County is, in a way, the story of local food everywhere... and it's a story that needs to be told and shared.
In 1974, Tim Carter came back from Purdue to the family farm with the vision for America's "big ag" taught in agronomy classrooms everywhere. Through the 80's he followed what the USDA said would be the future of food: confinement livestock, large-scale grain, and lab-engineered innovations (GMO and chemical combinations). The motto of the American farmer was “get big or get out.” Little did we know, as a nation, how many would have to choose the latter.
In 1997, the hog market crashed. Corn prices followed a few years later. By 2000, Tim was working a full-time off-farm job. The barns were empty. His father's 1944 tractor was parked, no longer needed. And the future of the 80-acre farm that had been in the family for 3 generations was uncertain.
Then, something interesting happened. While Tim still had a few head of cattle grazing on his land, a co-worker asked if he could buy a half cow for his freezer. The next year, a few more. Then more people in the community heard of the great grass-fed beef from his farm.
Over time, those few head of cattle turned into dozens on the pasture, and every one was sold direct to a consumer. In 2016, Tim introduced pasture-raised chickens to the farm—and sold out immediately.
Last year, the farm came full circle. For the first time since the crash of 1997, hogs were on the farm again. But this time, those hogs were not confined in a barn, but roaming freely on pasture and eating non-gmo grain.
Honey Creek Farm is just one of hundreds of other farms that you’ll find on Market Wagon that all share similar stories. This is the story of local food farming in America. Help us share this story, and many others like it.