farming is in our blood.
In 1943, Fred C. and Ora Ann Ernst bought the farm. It was one mile east of the Ernst family's original farm. Fred was a livestock and crop farmer. He managed and passed on the farm to his son, F. Carlton Ernst in the early 1970's. While teaching as professor in animal science, he expanded in the sheep, hog, and crop business with his son Steven F. Ernst. Steve focused on increasing labor efficiency and building infrastructure while working away full time as crop and feed nutritionist. Today he runs the farm with his son, Joshua C. Ernst. Carlton and Steve started selling shelled corn to deer hunters in early 2000's. In 2014, Josh expanded by selling Non-GMO feeds. In 2018, Josh expanded further with the Homestead Harvest Brand.
ernst grain & livestock
Joshua C. Ernst
-Graduated from West Virginia University with a bachelors degree in Agri-Business Management.
-Worked for a couple of years part time away while selling Non-GMO feeds directly off of the farm. Went full time on the farm in 2016.
-Entrepreneur, Day to Day Manager, Feed Grinder, Field Worker, Mechanic, and Sheep Manager.
Steven F. Ernst
-Graduated from University of New Hampshire with a degree in Agriculture Education.
-Worked full time as a Crop Advisor and Dairy Nutritionist while farming in his spare time for most of his life. Now that Josh is around, he has backed off on the day to day operations, while providing oversight in making decisions with Josh. Serves on a couple state agricultural boards and with plans to retire someday to be full time on the farm.
-Source of Wisdom, Crop and Hog Manager, Equipment Operator, Manages paper work.
We are a family farm. Everyone contributes to help get the work done.
Steve (dad) manages the crops and hogs. Sheila (mom) helps with livestock and does landscaping. Josh (brother) runs the day to day and grinds the feed. Jake (brother), Joe (brother), and Micah (brother) help bag feed, feed the animals, move livestock, and run equipment. Even Kim (Josh's wife) helps with bagging feed and paper work.
The work can be long and hard, but it is rewarding in the end.
We make feed. The majority of the corn, soybeans, wheat, and barley in our Non-GMO feeds are grown right here on our farm in Clear Spring, MD. The rest we work to produce with our neighbors. The grains are stored on site in grain bins so we can produce feeds year long. We also make feed for our own hogs and sheep. Many of our hogs go to customers who finish them on pasture and sell directly to the consumer. Our lambs are marketed through a local network to restaurants and consumers. We also work to produce hay and straw.
Farming is a way of life. This is something that has been passed down through the generations. This is a tradition we want to maintain. This why we focus on sustainability.
Our operation is 100% no-till and has been for many years. All of our crops are Non-GMO. Our land is in agriculture development protection. We focus on cover crops to improve the soil quality and protect from erosion. Our streams are lined with riparian buffers. We utilize 4 and 5 species crop rotations. In our sheep production pasture rotations and annual pastures provide forage. We have learned that if we take care of the land, the land will take care of us. We believe in regenerative agriculture.
Over the years we have been recognized for efforts in sustainable farming.
In 2010 we were the first Certified Agricultural Conservation Steward in the state of Maryland.
In 2010 the Washington County Soil Conservation District recognized us as a "Sustaining Conservation Farmer"
In 2011 we were awarded the "Exellence in Agricultural Stewardship Award" by Maryland Governor Martin O'Mally.
In 2017 we were named the Washington County Farm of the Year.
In 2019 we were featured in the Lancaster Farmer.