CARROLLTON, Ohio — When Monty and Lynn Morrison married more than 20 years ago, they dreamed of owning a 100-acre farm. A few years later, they settled down in southern Carroll County and have been busy ever since. Along with their three daughters, they grew Bellbridge Farms to run 40 dairy cows, 150 hair sheep and grow vegetables. Today, however, the Morrison’s are moving in a new direction to have less animals and more sustainability.
Monty and Lynn have always been very close to their grandparents who spoke often about the great depression. As the Morrison’s farm grew over the years, their ideals changed from trying to find a way to make money to finding a way to be self-sufficient. Now they have around 50 Katahdin ewes in the flock and sell live lambs year round on the internet. The benefit to raising hair sheep is that they do not need to be shorn like wool sheep. With Monty working full time off the farm, lower maintenance animals are a must on the farm.
Bellbridge Farm is still home to five Jersey cows who are milked once a day on a simple parlor system. This system is affordable and easy to use which can make milking a few cows feasible for any family. The milk that is not consumed for drinking or cheese making goes to feeding the small herd of pigs that live in the pasture. This is another source of food for the Morrison family that can also provide an income when extra pigs are sold.
The dual purpose Tilapia at the farm are fairly new. They not only provide food for the family but also food for the vegetables. Some of the fish are raised in tanks that provide nutrient rich water to the plants in the high tunnel. Other fish are raised in a pond with the purpose of providing food as well as selling fingerlings.
This is just the start of sustainability at Bellbridge Farm in Bowerston, Ohio. If you would like to learn more about Backyard Homesteading, there will be a workshop on Aug. 10 at 6 p.m. Bellbridge Farm is located at 9089 Cologne Road SW, Bowerston, OH 44695. This free workshop will be hosted by Carroll SWCD, OSU Extension and USDA NRCS. You may call 330-627-9852 for more information or to register for the workshop.
— Carroll SWCD