Yearning for More-Cooney Creek Farm
Jim and Cindy Yancy are not new to farming, but they took a detour for a while. Cindy grew up in the suburbs of Charleston, West Virginia. She slowly acquired land, first 2 acres, then 10, then 30. She went back to school for mechanical engineering, joking in the telling of the story that she figured she would then learn how to fix all the farm equipment that always needed repair. She got a job working for AK Steel. But she has retired from that to come back to her land.
Jim grew up in Deering, Ohio near Ironton, the son of a cowboy. He entered the Navy when he graduated from high school and stayed in until retirement. He now handles industrial sales as well as the farm.
Meanwhile, they purchased 136 acres in Pedro, Ohio several years ago and recently acquired another 113 acres just a bit down the road, because they believe they want to expand. To say Cindy and Jim understand what they want and set after their goal is an understatement. Introduced to the concepts demonstrated by Joel Salatin, they took the steps to improve their animal husbandry methods.
Any new livestock that they can not produce from their own breeding program is carefully selected to enhance the genetic protection of heirloom breeds. They currently have about 20 head of Devon cattle with one bull and one bull calf. Their cattle are pastured and moved weekly to new areas of their vast acreage; Devons were selected because they do very well on grass.
Their St. Croix sheep is a meat breed that has hair, not wool. Currently they look newly sheared, but it is because they have lost their winter coat. Cindy has been learning about a way of mob grazing, a different way of pasturing espoused by Greg Judy from a method developed by Ian Mitchell Innes. Cindy is convinced that using this grazing method protects the land better, the natural growth provides better nutrition, and the land can also support more animals. Her sheep, by the way, has a companion Great Pyrenees dog who is very vigilant
While I visited two women came to purchase some meat. Very interested in a healthy lifestyle, they had been seeking a source of non-commercial meat and happened to hear about the Cooney Creek Farm by word of mouth. Cindy has not spent much time marketing and is excited about the opportunity the Wild Ramp offers to her own farm as well as knowing the community will have easier access to healthier food options. And with everything else, Cindy has a great sense of humor.