Dave and Larkin Busby hope to share their farming philosophy and farm-raised products with others
BLAND, MO. – “I am so lucky to be doing what I love,” said Dave Busby.
DL Farms, located around Bland, Mo., is a century farm that has been in the family since the Civil War. The farm has been passed down to Dave and his wife Larkin, and they it into a growing, working farm with cows, chickens and pigs.
There are around 200 acres of land which is used to raise their 40 head of Angus cattle. The Busby’s believe in organic and all-natural ways of growing their products.
“It is about the people we take the good, quality food to,” Dave said. “When I was still teaching at the middle school, we bought some calves, finished them out and had them processed. Larkin would go to the farmers market (in Rolla, Mo.) with her little car with some coolers in the back, set up shop and started selling with the other vendors. People found out we raised cows and it just grew.”
Now Dave and Larkin can be found at the farmers market in Rolla with a truck and a walk-in freezer trailer. They sell beef by the halves and quarters. They also sell their meat sliced restaurant style with thicker cuts. Larkin is in charge of marketing, while Dave is working on the production of their livestock.
“I use intensive rotation grazing and move my cows almost every day to a new pasture,” Dave stated.
They do not put fertilizers on the grass or any chemicals because of the organic way of raising their animals. There are no growth hormones, antibiotics or steroids in their animals.
The meat chickens, Cornish crosses, are raised naturally, with organic feed in chicken tractors until about 6 weeks before they are processed and sold.
Forage-based pigs are rotated around the farm to clean up the wooded and brushy areas of the farm. The pork is processed into bratwursts, German-style sausages, hams, bacon and chops.
They also have a few beehives and sell honey, and seasonal garden vegetables.
Future plans on the farm are to expand the acreage. They don’t want to take on a larger herd because they like to keep it simple and focused on what they are doing now. Another plan is to introduce Wagyu genetics with the purchase of a new herd bull.
“The marbling in this breed is supposed to be amazing and the taste is phenomenal,” Dave explained. “So we are going to try this Wagyu, even though the calves won’t be ready for two years. But we will just see.”
Larkin treats the animals holistically. She has been certified in holistic medicine and has her own business called Health Solutions.
They welcome all visitors to their farm, from young students to military members from Fort Leonard Wood. The Busbys love to teach everyone where their food comes from and how farm animals are raised naturally. Their website informs visitors what to expect when volunteering and how long the day might be.
“I just wake up every day and think I am dreaming. Even on the worst days, I thank God for what I get to do every day,” Dave said as he smiled at Larkin. “I did nothing to deserve to live like this. So, a part of my goal is to share what we do here. All the things we get to do is not about the money. I like to share our good fortune with others.”