We find that labels such as 'Organic' or 'grassfed' don't go far enough in describing what we do, so we made a list of promises about what we will and won't do - let's see if our ethics match!
This one is simple - we just don't believe in halfway houses. We're not going to tinker around with it, using 'organic alternatives', or whatever, we're just going to make the best of whatever Nature cares to provide. So far, it's been enough and we see no reason to change.
One day, fossil fuels will run out, and we aim to have the food supply ready for that eventuality! We're not able to currently generate our renewables here on the farm, so we support a supplier called GoodEnergy, which uses purely renewables.
We don't believe in diverting human food to animals - that's inefficient. Our cattle and sheep live solely on our own native pasture - all but 10acres of our grassland is part of the remaining 3% of unimproved pasture left in Britain and we see it as vital to preserve it.
We're big believers in old-fashioned muck! Because we don't use chemical wormers routinely, our muck is biologically active and rots quickly, only releasing smell when disturbed for mucking out and spreading. Slurry simply isn't on our agenda. We use our hay for bedding, so no straw transported from afar and the 'goodness' we take from our land is returned to it.
It is common practise in the modern sheep industry to de-tail lambs. We have found it to be uneccesary on our system and therefore not worth the distress to the lamb. Lambs are also typically slaughtered at 4-6mo old since wool and mutton fell out of favour, but we like to let them enjoy a few seasons and our system makes them cheap to 'run', so our lamb is older 'hogget' lamb and we have plenty of mutton available too.
No doubt about it, few people want to be out in the burning sun with a scythe these days, so we are reliant on tractors to cut the acreage we now have. However, we purposely run small tractors at just the right horsepower for the job which saves a LOT of diesel use. We also actively experiment with alternatives to drive down fuel usage too.
This might seem an obscure one, but to us it is vitally important to maintain our independence from the global companies which control farm animal genetics. We wouldn't want to be reliant on them, lest they start telling us how we should do things. The animals they produce also typically require far higher inputs than we think is sustainable or financially worth it to give them, so we need our own tough, thrifty stock!
Call us old fashioned, but we think the act of grazing is probably important to the wellbeing of a grazing animal. For that reason, we like to let them do it for as long as possible! Thanks to our grazing system, we can graze between 10 and 12 months of the year even on wet ground without damaging it. Because we graze a nature reserve, we keep in mind flower and nesting timings.
Keeping money in our local economy is important to us. We carefully check out the few suppliers we do use and stay as local as possible. When you give a £ to Rosewood, it will in turn be spread around other independent British businesses, so it works hard for OUR country's economy, not disappearing into a tax haven somewhere...
We don't mind taking time out to create opportunities for wildlife - sightings brighten our day! Through our close relationship with Natural England, our land provides space for the nestboxes built via their volunteer scheme - already we have numerous owl and swift boxes in situ.
Putting ALL the emphasis on meat has put a lot of pressure on animals and farmers to get bigger, faster. Not only does utilising skin and wool save waste and imports, it allows us breathing space on growth rates and feed requirements, as muscle mass is only a part of the income from each animal - please support this important aspect of production!
Hedges don't just help wildlife - they provide shelter for our stock and make stock logistics easier, so we're more than happy to put more in when funds allow and have already reinstated many hedges here on the farm. If you'd like to donate to put up another hedge in the Yorkshire countryside, just let us know!