Brian J Warner
Irish Dexter Cattle
Savanna & Kiko Meat Goats
Buckthorn Ranch LLC
We are grass farmers at the Buckthorn Ranch. We maintain a herd of Irish Dexter cattle, as well as a commercial meat goat herd based on Savanna and Kiko meat goats.
Our ranch is located in the heart of the Kankakee River Basin in North Central Indiana. Before 1864, this area was a marsh twice the size of the Okefenokee Swamp. The Kankakee River had over 3,000 switchbacks that wandered through Northwest Indiana and Central Illinois connecting the St. Joseph River and the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River.
In the late 1800's, the Chicago cattle barons figured out that draining the great marsh would make available some of the world's richest farm land. The Kankakee River was straightened and a complex of drainage ditches was installed from South Bend to Kankakee, Illinois.
The great marsh and her bounty of waterfowl and fur were lost forever. Today, we find ourselves stewards of some of the richest soil on the planet.
Grass farming on a river basin can be challenging. Most of our ground is muck, high in organic matter, but chronically soft. Getting in to harvest hay as well as getting the hay to dry for baling is a challenge. Although, we always have good lush hay even when it is dry.