Our visit to the O’Halloran’s organic farm in central Montana left me inspired and looking to implement much of their practices into my life. The O’Halloran’s have totally changed the way we should produce our food and if their ideals could be brought to the majority, they would have profound impacts on our natural resources and community development. What the O’Halloran’s have done is extend their respect to the land, the animals, the people and the community around them. The O’Halloran have brought a set of land ethics back into an industry that has been lacking for a long time now.
The way the O’Halloran’s view their use of the land is one I had never seen before. They talk about “mining the land” when growing crops. The O’Halloran’s have used ideals we have also read about in the book Lentil Underground by Liz Carlisle, describing the use of legumes on Montana farms to put nitrogen back into the soil and organically manage soil quality without mass amounts of inorganic fertilizer. They are incredibly hesitant to till the land due to the irreversible impact it would have on soil carbon and structure. Their ethical treatment of the land also extends to grazing in the sense that they never overgraze the land and always leave a little extra forage for wildlife.
The O’Halloran’s cows take the idea of ‘happy cows’ to a whole new level. Their cows have beautiful land to roam and graze between the bends of the winding Judith River. They have yet to brand their cattle because they see them as equal and cannot bring themselves to scar the skin of an equal. What the O’Halloran’s have done on their farm is admirable, and what they have done in the community can make and incredible change.
The O’Halloran’s have created a new business to stimulate the economy that supports their employees in ways that allow them to live in a town like Lewistown. With the decline of rural America, the O’Halloran’s revitalize the small town by supplying jobs with living wages and childcare for their workers. By treating their employees so well, it allows people to stay in Lewistown. Well-paying jobs for young people are lacking and having more jobs and people like the O’Halloran’s is what we need to revitalize rural America.
Through the O’Halloran’s work they have addressed many of the environmental issues that we face today. Their work is inspiring and I hope that their way of life can be passed onto others and can become the common trend across the country. They certainty left a lasting impact on me. Now I just wish to help spare the word!