Growing up on the farm, I loved, even as a small child, coming home from school and going straight to help the farmhands. It was always my dream to have a farm of my own one day. From a young age, it was clear to me that the only way to farm was to farm organically. I do this with all my heart, and with the deepest conviction. I enjoy passing on the ideas and practices of organic farming to others. I want to convince as many people as possible that this is the right way to do things.
On our farm, we keep Angus cattle. Angus cattle are a placid breed, and are particularly suited to extensive pasture grazing. Cattle were originally forest animals. This is still firmly anchored in their character today. This is why our cattle particularly like to spend time in forested areas. All our animals spend most of the year outdoors, more than nine months.
They only eat grass, without any supplements. In organic pastures, there are four to five times more grass species than in conventional pastures. This diversity has a positive effect on the animals' health, and of course, also on the quality of the meat. We also keep sheep on our pastures. The herd remains, except in the winter months, outdoors all year round. Sheep are particularly suited to grow up on meadows, not only because they are good herd animals, but also because they eat different grasses than our cattle. In this way, we make sure that the meadows aren't exhausted, and that biodiversity is maintained. Long before the official European Union organic guidelines were implemented, we had already developed our own organic guidelines at Hipp.
We make absolutely no compromises on the quality of our products. We guarantee that our products contain only the best, and for us, that means be absolutely free from harmful substances. Trees growing on field margins prevent erosion and protect the grain against a strong wind. Copses are important in organic cultivation. They offer the right habitat for insects, birds, and beneficial organisms. This is why, if we've got any tree damage, we leave the trunks there. It takes almost 30 years for a trunk to decompose completely. Our cows are inseminated naturally, by letting the bulls run with the herd. The calves are born throughout the year, mostly on our meadows.
They stay with their mothers until they are eight months old, because the longer they are with their mothers, and drink their milk, the better it is for the calves' health. If an animal becomes ill, which is very rare, first we try to help with homeopathic measures. We only give antibiotics in an emergency. In such cases, we prescribe a waiting time three times as long as the legal guideline. The animals' welfare is a matter particularly close to our hearts. Sometimes it can happen that calves are not accepted by their mothers. These calves are then bottle fed.
Of course, these animals are then particularly close to the people looking after them. It is crucial to have the right employees with whom we can create something special. If the employees are behind an idea, if they all pitch in, all have the same goal, then it will work. A good team is important for success. Faithful to our organic farming convictions, we only keep as many animals on our farm as we can feed with our home grown fodder. Nothing extra is bought. This way, we know exactly what our cattle eat. In winter, our cattle are mostly fed on hay and clover silage. When harvesting the clover and the grass, we can also protect nature. Bees are very active midday.
For their protection, we only mow in the mornings or late afternoons. Besides this clover silage, we are building up stocks of straw and hay bales, because our cattle need lots of bedding to feel well while staying in the stables during the very cold winter season. Winter can last up to three months here. That is why the farm's forage resources must never go out. There must always be enough hay. The many storks on our farm are a sign of a healthy environment. We have wetlands in which they find food. We've got lots of beavers on our farm. Some of them have cut so many trees so that what used to be a rather small creek has become a lake now. This doesn't harm nature.
On the contrary, the beavers have not only created a new habitat for themselves, but also for other, sometimes rare animals and plants. In organic farming, it is not necessary to fertilize the plants. We have to feed the soil. If we improve the quality of the soil, then we can have even higher yields from organic farming than from conventional farming. Healthy soil guarantees healthy plants, and healthy plants are the basis for healthy animals. I grew up knowing that one day, I would have to take on responsibility. I'm more than happy to bear this responsibility.
We farm organically because we believe it is the right way. Organic farming is like a vision, and it is one of the greatest visions that we have in life, because we make a large contribution to make our world a better place, and, above all, to make the environment a place worth living in and loving for the next generation, just as it is.