POWER — Power, Montana is known to be a small town filled with farming and agriculture. Cordova Farms expands beyond those through offering pasture raised meat products such as chickens, pigs, sheep, cows, and turkeys, and they explain why they raise animals the way they do.
Ingrid and Josh Hill operate Cordova Farms. Ingrid stated, "We're a bit of an unusual story in that I did not grow up in an agricultural background. I grew up a Montana kid in Bozeman, Montana and my husband grew up here on his family farm, and when we first started dating, we came up to visit his folks and realized how much I enjoyed being able to work with the animals, and with the land, and that we really loved working on projects together. After a few years of commuting back and forth and trying to come to the farm as much as we could, we decided to move up and run it full-time."
The name Cordova Farms derived from the former town named "Cordova," just four miles south from Power, with railroad tracks and grain elevators. After being torn down just over a year ago, they decided to hold onto its name for their farm.
Ever since working on the farm in 2018, they have continued to expand non-stop.
"There are a lot of benefits and a lot of challenges to this lifestyle," she said. "It is long hours and long days, so we get up early, feed our animals twice a day. In the Winter, it's a little less glamourous because we're on more sacrifice-areas and doing less moves because the ground is frozen, and we want to respect our grasses and we're feeding more hay. In the summer, it is daily moves for most of our animals. They all move across the pasture doing daily moves, and that's part of our pasture-raised, is being able to have our animals out on ground, on grass, on forage every day, and moving them frequently is nice for the animals, but it also benefits the soils and our pasture, so we've had much better production of our grasses by moving our animals frequently.
Not to be confused with "pasteurized," pasture-raised refers to animals raised on a pasture rather than confined indoors.
When explaining why they chose to resort to pasture-raised, Ingrid said, "We chose to do that, one, because it's better for our soils and our environment, but I also think it's incredibly better for the animals. We think that animals should be treated their animal nature, so we don't use confinement, we try to move our animals as often as we can, and I believe happy animals have better lives, and taste better."
As Cordova Farms continues to expand, they have been working with a variety of other producers, and have recently begun selling some of their products to businesses in Great Falls.
Ingrid said, "We work with a lot of farms and ranches in Montana businesses. When we're sourcing our feed, we source from local neighbors to get any grain from our pigs and all of our hay is grown and harvested just a few miles from our farm, so we work with other farmers and ranchers to supply all of our feed. We work with a company called Eden Feedsto supply a lot of our poultry feed. They do a great job with that.
She added, "One of our more exciting projects this past year is working with restaurants, specifically in the Great Falls area, we worked with Central Ave Meats to process and break down some of our pigs, and then that pork went into Enbar, so they are using that pork in a lot of their specials, and some of their meals, so that's been really fun for us to see, and it's great for our supporters and customers to be able to go into Enbar and order any of their pork, by doing that, they are supporting for different Montana-run businesses, so that's been a really fun, closed loop system for us in being able to, from our farm, to their table, it has all been raised, processed, and cooked by Montana local businesses."