John and Christine Deck have been involved together in agriculture for most of their married life. The Deck family has spent the past five years on this Junction City farm, intently focused on raising pastured beef, pork, lamb, goat, and poultry. Along with a raw milk dairy, the Decks have taken sustainability to a whole new level.
“Everything we do is focused around growing grass” says Christine as she describes the management intensive grazing practices of their family farm. With 250 acres of pasture, the Decks have a lot of ground to cover. They rotate different animals through every paddock, depending on the need. Horses, sheep, cows, goats, pigs, and ducks all get a chance to graze on the different varieties of grasses they grow. Paving the way to safe grazing, ducks are especially important in late summer as they are rotated through the lowlands eating grasses, insects, and liver flukes, a deadly parasite to cattle, goats, and sheep, but harmless to the web-footed birds.
The Decks have a unique way of raising pork as well. The lucky pigs are fed raw milk as piglets and forage on organic vegetables as they get older. The Decks lease land to Groundwork Organics and the pigs renovate the soil after harvest as they feed on everything from tomatoes to squash. They make fantastic tillers, scaling back the need for machinery.
Restoring the creeks and other habitat on the farm is especially important to John, who holds a degree in Environmental Design. The creeks have been fenced off from cattle, over 1000 trees have been planted in riparian zones, and selective cutting has taken place to allow larger, older trees to survive un-crowded.
The Decks run a true family farm, where everyone works hard. Their oldest, Alex, is in charge of chicken operations while the next two girls run the dairy. The two little ones feed the ducks and collect eggs. John and Christine manage everything else from the infrastructure to marketing.
Deck Family Farm offers two types of CSAs and poultry by pre-order. They are raising heritage turkey breeds for Thanksgiving, and pasture their chicken, turkeys, and ducks along with all the other animals on the farm. You can find their grass-fed and finished beef, along with lamb, pork, and eggs every Saturday at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market. Folks are welcome to stop by and check out the farm any day except Sundays. Calling ahead is nice, but not necessary. For more information on Deck Family Farm, visit their website or stop by their booth this Saturday!