Adam Boman says his heart has always been in conservation and agriculture
Adam and Teresa Boman own and operate Good Life Grass Farms located in rural Pierce City, Mo., where they raise 100 percent grass-fed beef and lamb. The couple have three children, all under the age of 5.
As a former fisheries biologist at the Missouri Department of Conservation, Adam worked helping farmers fence livestock out of creeks and installing rotational grazing systems in Sullivan and Springfield, Mo. In 2015, he quit his job in town and began farming full-time.
“My heart all along has been in integrating conservation and agriculture,” Adam said. “The more I learned about rotational grazing, grass-finished beef and sustainable agriculture, I realized that I could make a living on a smaller farm if I focused on direct marketing, minimizing ownership of machinery, and maintaining optimal stocking rates verses maximum stocking rates.”
Adam works toward having the optimal stocking rate in each season, which allows him to feed less hay in the winter and increase his profits. His stocking rates vary throughout the year with spring having the highest stocking rate at 1.4 acres per animal unit. In fall it increases to 2 acres per animal unit.
Adam finishes his animals in spring and as summer goes on, most of those cattle are slaughtered, so his rates decline.
“In the fall and winter, I lower my rate so the grass builds up,” Adam explained. “Then I strip graze and ration the grass out in the winter. This substantially lowers the amount of hay I feed on the farm. Last year we only fed hay for 60 days. This winter, we hope to feed even less. I also substantially limit the amount of machinery I own. I don’t own any tractors. The only machinery I own are a pickup and a trailer to roll out hay bales. Everything else is rented or hired out.”
The farm is 68-acres with 42 grazable acres in the bottom and 11 grazable acres on the bluff around the homestead. His 42-acre rotational grazing system utilizes 16 paddocks, 2.6 acres per paddock. Adam can also divide these paddocks in half to create 32 paddocks in the spring when the grass is growing rapidly and he is moving the cattle once a day.
With excellent managerial skills, knowledge of rotational grazing and help from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Boman’s were able to get a jumpstart establishing their farm. The EQIP cost share program helped the Boman’s convert their land along Clear Creek from cropland to pasture.
“They put a lot of money into this farm that I didn’t have at the time. I couldn’t have started farming full-time without NRCS help,” Adam said.
The NRCS helped install fencing, a well and the water tanks that supply each paddock.
“I’m not getting rich by any means, but I am able to make a living and working on the farm enables my family to spend a lot of quality time together.”
The Boman’s utilize direct sales for their grass-fed beef, and sell bulls and heifers as well. A portion of their lambs are sold directly to the public and the rest are taken to the stockyards. The goal for next year is selling their products to local restaurants.
Last year, 11 animals were sold as beef, and this year Adam said he has 22 animals in the program.
Good Life Grass Farms has 25 Red Angus momma cows that calve in the fall. All calves are kept for their Good Life Grass Farms labeled beef or as replacement heifers.
“I keep the best four or five every year for bulls; I really don’t want anymore than that,” Adam said. “I’ve been selling everything I hold back (for bulls) but I don’t see myself increasing the seedstock side of it.”
The sheep flock is a Katahdin and Dorper cross, with some St. Croix in the mix. He currently has 25 ewes that lamb two times a year.