For Niman Ranch farmers Tim and Deleana Roseland of Roseland Family Farms, farming isn’t only a career path. “It was just always my passion and desire to farm. I loved being outside and working with the animals,” says Tim. “I never considered another occupation—farming was not just what I wanted to do, but it is who I am.”
The Roselands’ passion for farming has been passed down through multiple generations. “I am the 3rd generation to farm the land here and my son, Curt, just joined me in October after serving in the U.S. Army for three years. He will be the 4th generation,” says Tim. “My daughter is also now a farmer with her husband in North Dakota where she has a small herd of pigs, goats, and cattle.”
“I feel it is important that we each do our part to pass on our farms to the next generation in better shape than when we received them. I’m super excited to have my son joining me on the family farm to carry it on for the next generation,” says Tim. For this reason, Tim and Deleana use sustainable farming practices such as grassy waterways and terracing on their land. “How I leave the farm for my son and his children is my personal farm legacy.”
While Tim is keeping his farm in the family, he notes that the farming community around him is changing. “Everything has become so much larger from the size of farms to the types of equipment. All farmers are now farming more acres, and many farmsteads within a mile of my farm have disappeared in the last ten years,” says Tim.
“I honestly thought I might have to sell the farm. I was heartbroken and was open to any opportunity that could help me continue my dream,” says Tim. “I just could not continue to ride the roller coaster of market pricing any longer as an independent producer.” As a result, the Roselands joined Niman Ranch in 2005 for its price guarantee after unpredictable market conditions.
Because the Roselands had previously used total confinement to raise their pigs since the 1980s, Tim radically changed their pig raising techniques to adjust to Niman Ranch’s high standards, prioritizing humane pig raising practices on pasture or in deeply bedded pens. “I converted the buildings…and added hoop buildings to my operation,” says Tim. The transition meant that they had to dismantle expensive buildings, but it has been worth it. “We are not just raising animals; but with great compassion and good husbandry, we are raising animals that consumers can feel good about eating.”
According to Tim, family farmers with a dedication to how they raise livestock and grow crops are leaders in protecting not only people and animals, but also environmental health. “Families that live on the farm care about the environment and our communities because we are the ones that are most immediately and directly affected by environmental change. The loss of the family farm will have far-reaching consequences to our country at large from a food supply and economic perspective, as well as the loss of personal investment in the environment where the operations are,” says Tim. “We live on our farm and care greatly about the sustainability of the land and our community.”
Photos courtesy of Deleana Roseland.
Farmer Friday is a monthly series featuring livestock farmers selected by Niman Ranch, a network ofmore than 700 family farmers raising livestock in a traditional, humane, and sustainable way. With more than 40 years as an industry leader, Niman Ranch works with small, independent family farmers and ranchers across theUnited States to encourage better food system practices. All Niman Ranch pork, beef, lamb, and prepared products are certified under the Certified Humane® program and available nationwide at both food service and retail locations.