My name is John Batteen. I began work in fall of 2016 on what will eventually be an operation producing high quality, specialty, and value-added plant and animal products. It is located in Faulk county, South Dakota, on my family farm near Cresbard. It will be a slow and steady ramp up of production, with each new aspect being done first on a personal scale to work out the kinks and technique, then replicated on a larger scale in subsequent years.
Spring of 2017 saw grapes, raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, and currants planted, along with a small vegetable garden. Unfortunately the year was hot and dry, and required substantial irrigation. My only source of water at the time was a nearly brackish artesian well, which would have been OK for a little water here and there, but did some damage as the year went on. I think it may have killed the gooseberries and currants. We'll see if they come back next spring. It slowed the grapes but I think they will be alright. The raspberries and strawberries seem unaffected, although they also required the least irrigation. I will be building a rainwater collection system next spring, so that should alleviate the mineral water issue.
Spring 2018 is up in the air yet. There are a few possibilities I'm deciding between, and I might not choose only one. Egg chickens, Scottish Highland Cattle, more kinds of fruit trees, an expanded vegetable area, flint corn. We'll see what happens.
From time to time I offer homemade fruit leather and pies for sale to raise money for the farm, with products grown by me whenever possible. To inquire about any such ongoing efforts, call me at 605-824-0983.