Cross W Ranch

– Cross W Ranch –

Cross W Ranch is a 348-acre producer of certified organic grass-fed, grass-finished beef, lamb and pastured organic chicken and eggs, located in Howell, Michigan. Founded in 2015 by Jim and Sally Witkowski, the farm moves its 200-head herd of beef cattle in a rotational grazing pattern, and averages about 1000-1100 4×5’ round bales of onsite hay production each year.

From its inception, Cross W Ranch adopted a soil-to-table approach, with a mission to produce quality food for healthier people. Pursuing this on land degraded by decades of conventional row-cropping required a willingness to adopt innovative practices at the forefront of regenerative agriculture and animal management.

For example, targeted foliar feeding to pastures and hayfields resulted in dramatically improved pasture growth and hay baleage per acre. Also, multiple-wrapped hay bales proved to enhance animal nutrition, enabling animal weight gain even in colder months.

Most of the farm’s output is direct-marketed to consumers through online ordering, with pickup by appointment. An emailed newsletter has grown to over 2,000 subscribers since we recorded the podcast, with restocks of farm product selling out within days. In addition to beef, chicken and eggs, Cross W Ranch also markets value-added products including frozen soup stocks and a line of dog food products that make use of harder-to-sell meats and animal parts. Ag tourism and other community-building and education events on the ranch also add to the mix of revenue streams that support the operation and its larger mission.