Laura’s Lean Beef founder to implement climate-smart farming practices in the Ohio River Valley

Laura Freeman’s Mt. Folly Enterprises also plans to develop new climate-friendly beef brand 


Mt. Folly Enterprises, a farm­ing enter­prise found­ed and men­tored by Laura’s Lean Beef Founder Laura Freeman, announced today that it has been award­ed a USDA Climate-Smart Commodities Project Grant. This grant will enable Mt. Folly Enterprises, with Mt. Folly Farm and oth­er part­ners includ­ing Eastern Kentucky University and the Savory Institute, to imple­ment inno­v­a­tive cli­mate-smart farm­ing prac­tices and to build a net­work of cli­mate-smart farm­ers through­out the Ohio River Valley.

In con­junc­tion with its focus on cli­mate-smart farm­ing, Mt. Folly plans to part­ner with region­al farm­ers to devel­op a new, cli­mate-smart beef brand. Additional details about this new beef brand, which is expect­ed to launch next year, will be forthcoming.

“Climate-smart, region­al farm­ing is the way of the future for the food indus­try,” said Laura Freeman, Founder and Chairwoman of Mt. Folly Enterprises. “By local­iz­ing food pro­duc­tion, and by sup­port­ing cli­mate-smart farm­ing prac­tices, com­mu­ni­ties can make a sig­nif­i­cant impact on the envi­ron­men­tal chal­lenges our soci­ety faces. We’re thrilled to have the oppor­tu­ni­ty, through the USDA Climate-Smart Commodities grant, to take an impor­tant step in this crit­i­cal evo­lu­tion, by imple­ment­ing inno­v­a­tive, cli­mate-smart farm­ing prac­tices through­out our region.”

A pio­neer in cli­mate-smart farm­ing, Mt. Folly Enterprises will use the USDA grant to imple­ment more broad­ly the cli­mate-smart prac­tices already in use at Mt. Folly Farm. This work will include mod­el­ing and devel­op­ing whole-farm car­bon seques­tra­tion sys­tems for mid-sized farms pro­duc­ing crops and beef in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Tennessee. Participating farms will receive incen­tives for their use of these sys­tems, free tech­ni­cal assis­tance, and cost-shar­ing to help them imple­ment cli­mate-smart prac­tices, includ­ing con­ser­va­tion crop rota­tion, reduc­ing tillage, the use of cov­er crops, sil­vopas­ture, pre­scribed graz­ing, and tree or shrub estab­lish­ment from crop or grass­land, and more.

Farms inter­est­ed in par­tic­i­pat­ing in Mt. Folly’s cli­mate-smart pro­gram can request addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion here.

Laura, a long­time inno­va­tor in the farm­ing indus­try, began Laura’s Lean Beef in the 1980s when the impor­tance of organ­ic, chem­i­cal-free farm­ing wasn’t yet wide­ly rec­og­nized. After suc­cess­ful­ly build­ing Laura’s Lean Beef into the most valu­able brand in the nat­ur­al beef space, Laura sold the com­pa­ny and shift­ed her focus to oth­er eco­log­i­cal agri­cul­ture prac­tices, and exper­i­ment­ed with a new set of crops and appli­ca­tions. Today, she leads Mt. Folly Farm, one of the most inno­v­a­tive farms in Kentucky.

Currently, Laura is being rec­og­nized for her inno­va­tion by a trav­el­ing Smithsonian exhib­it, Spark! Places of Innovation. The exhib­it, which will be open at the Bluegrass Heritage Museum in Winchester, KY until September 2nd, high­lights inno­va­tion in rur­al America, includ­ing agri­cul­ture and inno­va­tion in Clark County.

Mt. Folly Enterprises includes Mt. Folly Farm, a hemp com­pa­ny, a beef brand, and a liquor brand. Ben Pasley, a farmer of the next gen­er­a­tion, is the CEO of Mt. Folly Enterprises. Laura’s daugh­ter, Alice Melendez, is Project Lead for the USDA Climate-Smart Commodities grant.

More infor­ma­tion about Mt. Folly’s approach to cli­mate-smart farm­ing is avail­able here.

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