We started farming in Boerne, Texas, with two cows, 40 chickens and a couple of Jacob sheep. When our twins started school, I wanted a job that would allow me to be a full time mom. We were fortunate enough that Sean’s job allowed me to do that. Texas has laws that favor keeping land in agricultural use, so even though the farm never got big enough to make a profit, it more than paid the taxes on the property.
We moved to Europe in 2009 and spent three years sight-seeing and reading about farming, from rotational grazing to fencing options to breed selection. We travelled to see many European models and learn about what the farmers in Europe are doing.
In 2012 we moved to Franklin County, Virginia where we currently run the Lazy Pigg Farm. We moved here with the intention of farming full-time when Sean retires. I have been getting the farm up and running with the help of our daughters, Kate, Maura, and Brigid. The name of the farm is taken from the Pigg River which makes up 3/4 of our property line.
When we returned to the United States, we decided to continue raising Dexter cattle for several reasons. At the time we got into Dexters, in 2009, they were on the American Livestock Breed Conservancy Threatened list, meaning there were fewer that 1,000 registered animals in the United States and an estimated global population of less than 5,000. We knew we didn’t have a lot of acreage to raise animals and we wanted to increase our impact by raising a breed that was in danger of becoming extinct. We also liked their small size. As a general rule of thumb, you can have two cow/calf pairs of Dexters per animal unit as opposed to one cow/calf pair of the larger breeds such as Angus. This means that a Dexter cow/calf pair will eat less as well as treading more lightly on the pastures.The beef from Dexter cattle consistently places well in taste tests. Although the carcass weight of a Dexter steer will be less than an Angus, the rib-eye of a Dexter is not as small proportionally. For all of these reasons we decided to raise Dexters.