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Meet Austin Dillon of Counter Culture Farms in Nacogdoches

Today we’d like to introduce you to Austin Dillon.

Austin, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
For a while, I just complained about the food production, Counter Culture Farms is my response to the degradation of American agriculture, soils, and health. The deeper you dig, the more you learn that the label is just another marketing technique. The only way to truly know what is in your food is to know the farmer and to know the land intimately. With this in mind, I took the reigns with our family land and cattle to begin regenerating the land into a healthy, thriving ecosystem to provide people with healthy and delicious meats raised from healthy soil.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Wendell Berry wrote, “The impeded stream is the one that sings.” To say it simply, I’ve been singin’. When you do anything outside the norm, it seems that everyone and their dog comes to tell you that you can’t or it won’t work or blah blah. That’s really all it is, a bunch of sounds. One of the biggest struggles is the constant battle of talking with other farmers who believe that their way is right and that nature is wrong. I’m not following my own rules, I am looking at nature to see how she does things. After all, she is pretty resilient. I refuse to be part of the crowd that wants to beat nature into submission. Here at Counter Culture Farms we work with nature to heal the land, which in turn, heals the people.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Counter Culture Farms. The name says it all. We are different and proud of it. I say it often, heal the land, heal the people. When we care for the land the way we care for our families, something amazing happens. The land begins to heal itself. How do we do this? We let the animals be animals. Like a beautiful dance, the animals move across the land in large herds similar to how the bison once migrated across North America. For example, in a 100-acre pasture, we use electric wire to give access to 2-3 acres a day with a large number of cows. The next day they are moved and the land behind them is allowed to rest until they return to graze again in 30-45 days. The sheep in turn are rotationally grazed over the same pasture, and they eat different plants that the cows don’t like. Some people call these plants “weeds” but our sheep call these plants food. The goats are also rotated across to take care of the plants that neither the cows nor sheep want to eat. Nature has a rule. Diversity is key.

We spray zero herbicides or pesticides on our land. I like to tell people, “If it can’t go in or on my body, it’s not going in or on my land.” Additionally, our cows eat what’s produced on our land only. We do not feed any grain. We offer a free choice sea salt mineral that is dug from a deep ancient sea bed. I dip my tongue in the salt often to show people that it is safe for humans.

One of the biggest things we are proud of here is the focus we have on future generations. We are not solely focused on the bottom line at the expense of the land, animals, and future generations. I always say, “If the land isn’t getting better, we are doing something wrong.”

What were you like growing up?
I asked way too many questions and always wanted to know the why. I had too much energy to sit in a chair all day in school, and it often got me in trouble. Not surprisingly, the questioning got me in more trouble than anything. People don’t like it when you question the status quo, why they do this or that. Well, not much has changed. I still question why people do this or that, why it’s the norm to spray poisons all over our food and soil and say it’s okay. It’s not okay, and we are doing something about it.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Kendyll Robinson

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