Grazing with Shade in Alabama

blankBDA Farm is a 6,200-acre certified organic produce and livestock operation in Uniontown, AL. With a focus on regenerative agriculture, BDA produces more than 40 varieties of vegetables and herbs and moves 1,000 beef, 500 sheep and 3,000 laying hens across 4,000+ acres.

“The role of our livestock is to convert grass to an end product, apply fertility and regenerate the soil,” says farm Manager Benjamin Moore, who refers to the livestock as “employees.”

Those employees need protection from the hot Alabama sun, and BDA found a shade solution that fits their grazing strategy. Since June, four SH1200 Shade Haven mobile shade systems have moved through the paddocks at BDA.

“They are extremely easy to move and very well designed. They have traveled across 6,000 acres,” says Moore. “We are pulling them with 4-wheelers, one man, no problem. We can get them through any of our gates.”

Repairing and rejuvenating the soil is top priority at BDA and mobile shade helps to build soil and maintain healthy pastures. “It allows us to avoid heat stress while keeping animals in places where we really need that impact,” says Moore. “With the Shade Haven – especially where we are reclaiming row crop land with no trees – we have the ability to better utilize the livestock by giving them a tool to do their job.”

The livestock at BDA are grazed using an adaptive grazing method. Adaptive grazing is intensive rotational grazing, varying grazing heights and rest periods, and adapting to changing conditions.

In operation since 2011, BDA sells its produce to CSA members, at farmers markets and to top restaurants in the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham metro areas. The farm direct markets its proteins and also sells to conventional markets and processors.

“Our intent is to continually grow our direct market and let that compete with our wholesale,” says Moore. “We provide the scale that is appealing to wholesale buyers. All while we are trying to grow our brand…to meet the need of people looking for a more environmentally conscious, more health-conscious product.”

Shade Haven is proud to be part of the regenerative efforts at BDA Farm and wishes them continued success.

Learn more about BDA Farm at www.bdafarm.com