Four generations after Craig Corrin’s grandfather first purchased the farm in 1903, the Corrin family continues to raise cattle on their 750-acres. Nestled in western Iowa along the Nebraska border, Craig has been farming there for over 30 years. He now owns and operates the farm with his wife Jackie and son Colton. From their pasture raised beef, to their corn, rye, and alfalfa crops, the family values sustainable farming practices. “As farmers we appreciate the opportunity to be stewards of the land and caretakers of our livestock,” say Craig and Jackie.
Every year, the Corrins raise 500-600 head of cattle for Niman Ranch. Craig and Jackie are proud to be part of the Niman Ranch family and note the “great products and great people to work with” which led them there three years ago. Since then, Craig appreciates Niman Ranch not only for their products, but for their emphasis on “educating the consumers about their products and how they’re raised.”
The Corrin’s approach to ranching reflects the environmental and ethical livestock management practiced throughout the Niman Ranch network.The family uses sustainable methods like crop rotation, cover crops, and no-tillage systems—as well as terracing and grassed waterways. According to Craig, the family goes to these lengths in order to “preserve our soil by reducing soil erosion”. Of course, the welfare of cattle also remain a priority all year round. Pasture access for the cattle is a priority in the summer, while in the winter months the Corrins ensure the cattle have access to rye and corn stalks.
Through these methods, farmers like Craig and Jackie work to ensure a positive future for agriculture and the next generations. Already, Craig says he is concerned with the huge changes happening around him: “thirty to forty years ago, most of the farms had cattle and hogs, [but] now very few of them do.” Craig also cautions about the “dramatic decrease of farmers who raise livestock and the increasing number of livestock containment buildings.”
But upholding and protecting the soil will ensure the Corrin family can keep doing what they love. Year after year, the family’s favorite activity is “raising and watching the crops and the cattle grow,” say the Corrins, especially during the calving season.
While the Corrin family remains passionate about the land and animals around them, they are also dedicated to spreading these values through education. Craig became a farmer after “growing up on the farm raising cattle and hogs and … learning with [his] father”. Now, Craig believes the best way to get more young people excited about the food system is educating them about the best practices behind raising livestock and crops.
“I would like to educate and inform people so they have the proper information—there are so many misunderstandings about farming and raising livestock out there,” says Craig. “We have chosen this lifestyle for our love of agriculture and our commitment to passing it on to future generations.”
Farmer Friday is a monthly series featuring Niman Ranch family farmers and ranchers raising livestock in a traditional, humane, and sustainable way. With more than 40 years as an industry leader, Niman Ranch works with more than 70 independent family farmers and ranchers across the United 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.
Feature Image Courtesy of Shutterstock Photographer Patrick Jennings