Follow along as Farm to Fork features local producers supplying meat for the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement in Utah.
Meet Chris Neely, owner of JnCFarmCO!
Provide a brief history of your farm or ranch.
JnCFarmCO is a small family farm located in the SouthWest corner of Colorado, in the town of Yellow Jacket. We began farming in 2017. We produce bison, forages, and grains. We farm with my father who farmed with his father who farmed with his father before that. Farming is in our blood.
Bison are awesome animals and we want to share them with you! They free range on about 300 acres on our farm and are often visible grazing or lounging in the field.
Tell us about your farming practices.
Part of our farming journey has been to talk with other farmers in our area and learn from them. Yellow Jacket is part of the High Desert and we rely on our local reservoir for irrigation on most of our farm.
We are a conventional farm which means we use the tools available to us to Steward the Land for Future Generations. We are not Organic but we are very conscious of our environment and our resources.
Our Bison are kept as natural as possible. They roam and feed freely. That means they go where they want, when they want, and eat what they want. We provide hay, grown on our farm, for them during times of year when the vegetation is needing a rest.
What sets your beef or bison apart?
Bison are set apart by nature! They are a natural component of our ecosystem and we are proud to be bringing them back to the land.
We don’t work Bison like cows. They are pretty much hands off. The only time they are bothered by us is when we gather them for sorting. Some of them are designated at weaning as future mothers in the herd. Others for Bison Hunts. Still others for market animals, some of which you are having for lunch. They are tagged to help identify them for these purposes as well as to keep records if something goes wrong.
The thing that mostly sets them apart from other livestock is that they are Wild Animals.
Cows have been born and bred in captivity for thousands of years. Bison just came off of the Wild American Plains. 150 years ago nobody owned bison. In fact wild herds of bison were hunted to near extinction. That was an awful tragedy and one we are still recovering from.It is one of the awesome American recovery stories that Bison are again on the rise, stewarded now by farmers and ranchers like us and several Indigenous Tribes. Bison hold a special cultural place for indigenous peoples and we are proud to be a part of restoring that amazing heritage!
Why do you love ranching?
Every day is an adventure! Each sunrise brings new challenges and obstacles to overcome!
My office has no walls, no roof, and looks over thousands of miles of some of God’s most beautiful creation.
I don’t do the same thing day after day. Many tasks are repeated but I get to be a welder, an engineer, a scientist, a hydrologist, a geologist, a plumber, a carpenter, a heavy equipment operator, a businessman, and many more on any given day. It is the most exciting and rewarding career I could think of.
It is also one of the hardest! Things go wrong. Things break. Plans don’t work like you think they should and you have to be able to adapt to the situation and move forward. Many times I fail more often than I succeed. Failure is not a tragedy. The tragedy is not getting back up and trying again!
Thank you for enjoying the fruits of our hard work and I hope you all work hard to be able to share your fruits with others.
Is your school participating in the LFS grant? Click here to download marketing materials to display in your cafeteria!
Click here to learn more about the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program (LFS) from the USDA.
Click here to read the press release for the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program (LFS) in Utah.