Dave and Jodi Bunting both grew up on farms a few miles outside of Redwood Falls.
The two had been exposed to the daily grind of the ag life, as they experienced what it meant to grow up around animals and general farm life. They understand the traditions that make farming what it is in rural Minnesota, and 16 years ago, they opted, when the opportunity arose, to move back to the farm.
Now they are not only living in that setting they have jumped in and taken on what it means to live it and breathe it once again.
The Buntings talked about their farming operation, known as Simple Traditions Farm, this past Wednesday afternoon as part of the ag education series at the Redwood Falls Public Library. Both Dave and Jodi have full-time jobs away from the farm. He works at Marthaler Chevrolet, and she works at the local hospital.
Yet, both of them have added to busy lives by not just embracing farming in some way – they have jumped in with both feet and are raising several animal species and growing crops on the farm.
While winter may be a bit slower for some, recent days have been busy for the Buntings, as they are in the middle of lambing season – just one of the livestock species being raised at Simple Traditions Farm.
What started with what are known as the Baby Doll breed was expanded a couple of years ago when they started raising larger commercial ewes. Starting out with 20 sheep, the operation has expended to 60, and Jodi said while she was able to shear 20 of them to sell the wool the increase in the flock numbers meant hiring someone else to come in and perform that task.
“It takes him about three or four minutes to shear one, and it took me about 20,” said Jodi.
In addition to sheep, Simple Traditions farm also raises chickens. The hens raised on the farm come to the post office each season, said Jodi, adding they, like the other animals on the farm, are free range. No, she added, the chickens are not interested in leaving the barn during the winter months.
There are typically 50-60 chickens on the farm, which Jodi said means a lot of eggs – typically four to five dozen every day.
The Buntings typically get 20-30 feeder pigs to raise each year, and cattle are also part of the operation. Jodi said they have started to grow cover crops, which are then used to feed the cattle, and she said they would like to increase that option.
Dave said the cattle are turned out on the pasture at the end of May or in early June, and Jodi added they run to the gate when they know they are going to be out grazing.
“Cattle are very curious,” said Jodi. “If there is something new they have never seen before they need to see what’s going on.”
One year ago the Buntings planted oats and alfalfa for baling, and while a lot of that was flooded what they did get harvested was baled to be used as feed. Dave said the alfalfa and oats are cut green, baled and then fully wrapped, and when opened they are still green.
Jodi added the cattle and sheep love it.
The Buntings sell the eggs they raise, and the other animals are butchered and sold as well.
Jodi said one of the things they really enjoy is having the chance to invite people out to see what they are doing, and over the years there have been plenty of people who have come out to watch or to get involved.
To learn more about Simple Traditions Farm visit its Facebook page online.