Being regenerative is number one.
Our family aims to produce the cleanest and most delicious foods in a way that protects and enhances the soil, air, water, and the environment in which we live. We work hard to use all resources carefully and wisely and to farm systematically while integrating all aspects of our farming operations. We employ a whole systems approach and are proud of our efforts to educate others in the methods and possibilities of organic farming.
We’re committed to building relationships based on trust and to treating all partners and employees with respect. We are proud of our efforts to sustain family farming and to promote the preservation of quality farmland in California.
All of our regenerative practices support organic farming principles, and our certified organic foods are produced according to the USDA’s National Organic Program. In some recent studies, foods produced organically have been shown to be more nutrient-dense, and soil health on organic farms has been shown to be superior. Foods carrying the organic seal are produced without the use of these substances:
• petrochemical pesticides
• petrochemical nitrogen fertilizers
• genetically modified organisms
• artificial hormones (rBST or RGBH)
Our organic and transitioning farms rely on no synthetic inputs of any kind, and to a large extent maintain a closed loop of resources. The cattle receive approximately 80 percent of their annual nutrition from pasture and forage. We make all of our own compost per year to “feed” our soil, enhancing soil biology and ensuring the long-term viability of our farm. We also add dried onion and garlic skins into our compost to increase the levels of carbon into our soil.
At Burroughs Family Farms, we believe in creating and maintaining a high level of biodiversity on each of our farms and have planted hedgerows around our crops to do just that. Our hedgerows include rosemary, butterfly bush, deer grass, lavender and more. They provide many benefits include attracting beneficial insects, improving water quality, providing windbreaks, suppressing weeds, and stabilizing our soils. They also act as a barrier to keep out unwanted chemicals from the neighboring farms that surround us.
Grazing animals actually improve the condition of the soil rather than damaging it, and a significant amount of carbon can be sequestered because the land is always kept covered and the roots and soil microbiome are nourished and left mostly undisturbed. This is why BFF has invested in a flock of sheep to graze the organic orchard floors about 6 months of the year. They will moved to pasture to ensure no food safety issues happen.
The Burroughs operation is energy and water efficient, cutting our costs and reducing our impact on air quality and greenhouse gases emissions. Eighty percent of the almond irrigation is supplied with solar energy. Considerable investment has been used to develop nine solar sites to supply solar energy to 1200 almond, olive and walnut acres. In 2013, 5 more sites have been added to the pivot irrigation systems to continue our energy efficiency efforts.
At Burroughs Family Farms, we have worked hard to maintain a high level of biodiversity on our land, leaving a safe and sustainable environment for the native habitat. From installing owl boxes to preserving native grasses, we are committed to keeping that which is native to our land.
For the past eight years we have been working with Aaron Wentzel, a biologist who inventories our native grass and wildflower species collects seed, and assists us with restoration plantings. Some of the most important species he has been focused on include blue wild rye, creeping wild rye, nodding needle grass, pine bluegrass, California melic grass, California saxifrage, purple owl’s clover, harvest brodiaea, California poppy, and more. His observations have led him to conclude that our grazing practices have a beneficial effect on the native plant communities of our grazed lands. The native grounds are also grazed when available throughout the year and used for calving.
Open Space and No till
To maintain the health of our land, animals and family, we keep portions of our farms open for natural habitat. The open space and working lands that our farms provide are beneficial for food production and prevent the negative environmental effects of urban development. We also keep the soil covered and do not open the ground up with tillage. This ensures the carbon stays in the ground and isn't released.