Paul Brown of Alderland Farm, Iowa
All the independent family farmers who raise livestock for Niman Ranch practice sustainable farming methods, humane animal husbandry and work within their communities to promote the family farming model. There are some, however, that stand out above the rest. In order to honor their achievements, we honor one farmer every year with the Farmer of the Year award, which is presented at the Farmer Appreciation Dinner in Iowa.
The 2014 winner came as no surprise. Paul Brown of Alderland farm has opened his home on several occasions to share his knowledge of sustainable farming and Niman Ranch. He and his family have hosted many tours over the years, from Niman Ranch groups to college groups, and even local school children. In fact, Paul is known simply as “Farmer Brown” to many local kids in his community.
Paul and Andrea met when he took a summer job on Andrea’s family farm. It was his first introduction to pasture hog production and his future wife. After that summer job, he began working in confinement operations, but quickly realized he wanted to raise hogs outdoors.
They moved to New Providence in 1991 and proceeded to buy Andrea’s family livestock operation in 1994. After the 1998 hog market crash, they started looking for other options and found Niman Ranch. Having traditional raising practices on their farm that allow the hogs plenty of space to behave naturally on pasture made it a perfect fit. They farrow on pasture during the spring, summer and fall and hold their hogs in a traditional farrowing house with free-stalls in the winter, allowing the sows ample room to move around.
Paul and Andrea enjoy farming because it gives them the ability to instill a work ethic in their children and the joy of working together toward a common goal. The name Alderland was inspired by their children’s names – Allison, Derek, and Landon. All three have play an important role in the success of their farm. Derek, in particular, plans to work with his parents on the farm full-time in the future.
We’d like to congratulate Paul and his family for their hard work and deep respect for the land. Niman Ranch wouldn’t be able to offer the finest tasting meat in the world without them!