Ron & Lisa Zeien of Zeien Farms cover a lot of ground as a team of two. Together, they raise livestock on their 15-acre homestead in Blythe, GA, and manage an additional 105 acres for pasture and hay in Matthews, GA. Beef cattle, rabbits, a couple of dairy cows, roaster chickens, 50 laying hens and 14 hogs currently comprise their enterprise. Now in their fifth year, the farm turned its first profit this year, and now stands as its own business entity, a notable achievement in today’s small-farm economy.
Ron farms daily, before and after his full time job building custom vehicles locally. He says he farms because “I don’t like the way the meat industry is going with what I call ‘store-bought stuff.’ I don’t trust the handling, the processing, the pricing or the marketing of mass produced meats. You don’t know what you’re getting or where it’s coming from anymore.”
Ron describes his growing practices as “raising them nutritionally, according to what they need.” His animals have access to open pasture and hay, and eat grains as supplements. “Our products are environmentally friendly and priced reasonably.” Indeed, affordability is important to Ron. “As long as I’m making money and paying my bills, I’m going to keep my prices down.” He and Lisa are able to do that, in part, because they do 90% of their own veterinary work if needed and sell most of their product directly from their farm. They also mentor new livestock farmers to help them get on the right path from the start.
Zeien Farms has graciously donated two hogs to the Boucherie: a Yorkshire Blue Butt cross, and a Hampshire gilt.