Icebox Flats is a family-owned sustainable farm north of Colville, Washington and just south
of Trail, BC. We raise a range of livestock including; 100% grassfed cattle, woodlot pork,
pastured sheep, free-range layers and pastured poultry. Our cattle are not fed grain and
never given hormones, antibiotics or chemicalwormers. During the winter they enjoy local
grass hay with no synthetic herbicides or fertilizers and certified organic alfalfa. We offer
both nonGMO and certified organic fed pigs and broiler chickens. Both our ducks
and laying hens are free-range during the pasture season and spend the winter enjoying
deep bedding in our hoophouse with only certified organic feed.
Our land was mostly a fallow pasture used last about 10 years ago
for rangeland, grass hay and some oat production. We rotate the cattle
to fertilize and give the soil life rest and time to do its job after the hooves
have passed. The cattle are fed hay on areas of the pasture that need
additional organic matter through the winter. Our pasture is subirrigated
from the mountain springs above us. Natural plants are allowed to flower
to encourage beneficial insects and we plant trees to encourage the birds.
Buffers and wooded areas are maintained for wildlife as well.
Our cattle are rotated every few days to fresh pasture using portable electric fence
reels to define paddocks. They usually know when it's time to go, once we give them
a whistle they just follow us to the next paddock, pretty low-stress for them and for us.
The pasture has no chemicals applied to it and all of our winter hay is certified organic
or signed off by the farmer raising it as chemical and GMO free. We usually cut some
portion of our pastures during the season to keep it growing well and often make our
own hay too.
Between the two of us we build fencing and shelter, repair and maintain equipment, do
our own hauling, move and feed cattle, sheep, pigs and laying hens, raise and process
pastured broilers, design the marketing materials for print and online and try to figure
out what it means to plan for and run a small business. Doing that while creating what
is becoming a sustainable homestead from almost bare land hasn't been the easy path.
Standing in a leaking hay barn in yet another downpour looking at my home that
consisted of a 10 foot square plywood room and a barbecue without electricity or running
water (besides what was raining on my worldly possessions) during the summer of 2012,
I couldn't have told you we'd get this far. Learning what we're capable of, improving the land
and watching the animals thrive here has made it so very worth it.