Get To Know Your Farmer: JL Blacker Farms

Shelly, Brenton, Jeff, and Bailey Blacker of JL Blacker Farms

Jeff Blacker and his wife Shelly own and run a 63 acre family farm with their son Brenton and daughter Bailey. JL Blacker Farms is a name you will see on many of This Old Farm’s pork and chicken products in our retail storefront. They joined our Farmer Alliance program in 2015. Living across the road from This Old Farm, Jeff was skeptical about raising grass-fed meats without the use of preservatives and additives, and thought it was a fad. He was a hard working farmer doing things the way he always had since he was a small boy and he was resistant to change. But after time, Jeff and Shelly watched This Old Farm grow, seeing healthy, vibrant people who obviously cared about what they ate, drive out to rural Colfax from all over to buy healthy meats. He began to realize that locally grown, healthy food was not a fad, but here to stay. And since then he and Shelly have been in the process of changing how they farm.

They started using non-GMO feed, free of growth hormones and antibiotics for their animals. Jeff learned from books and materials written by the renowned farmer Joel Salatin how to best use the land to raise their own food and maximize the quality of life for his family and his animals. They are converting their farm over to pasture, and will eventually fence in the whole property so animals can graze freely. Jeff plants a rye cover crop to retain the soil on his land, making organic matter and adding a natural positive nitrogen effect instead of spraying chemical nitrogen to improve the quality of his soil so that his grasses can grow optimally. He is proud of being one of the only full-time farmers in Perry Township his age who is also selling products recommended by someone else. He believes that the large industrial farms and massive machinery of today disconnects farmers from the land, which can result in devastating consequences such as the recent Monsanto Round Up Class Action Lawsuits. Jeff said that the United States has lost 8000 farms since 2015 showing that conventional farming methods have not helped rural families sustain a living on the land. Jeff believes that farmers must create their own markets to be profitable and sustainable.

Jeff and his family love their work producing fresh meats and they want to help others, who are committed to buying local and knowing their farmer, to cultivate a healthy lifestyle. The mission of JL Blacker Farms is to sustain the next generation, encouraging people to eat better and feel better by eating naturally grown foods and locally raised and processed pastured meats. Jeff and Shelly are pleased with the way This Old Farm processes their pork and poultry using vacuum sealed packages with labels that attractively showcase their products, allowing them also to develop their own market through Facebook, Craig’s list and the farmers market in Whitestown. Jeff said they would not be doing what they are doing without collaboration with This Old Farm. For more information, the website for JL Blacker Farms Family Meats is wegotyourmeats.com

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