At Moink, our farmers are like family. Moink is farmer owned, and we love introducing you to the men and women who compassionately and skillfully raise our animals.
The Hawkins family farm is currently operated by Tandy and Sharla Hawkins and their oldest son, Clayton, but the farm goes back for six generations. According to family history, the original owner came from Kentucky and homesteaded in Shelby County, Missouri in the Gold Rush Era of the mid-1800s. Every generation of Hawkins has been full-time farmers ever since.
“Farming is our way of life,” reflects Tandy. “I learned from my grandfather, my dad, and my great uncle. I was the oldest of five boys, so my dad had plenty of help. But my great uncle Harold Hawkins didn’t have any help, so I helped him on the farm many days after school.”When Tandy graduated high school, he left to study Agriculture at the University of Missouri and complete an internship in Illinois, but his intention was always to come back and continue his family’s farming legacy.
Like his dad, Clayton’s dreams of being a farmer also started at a young age. “I guess you could say I clocked in at age four and never really looked back,” he says. “It taught me a good work ethic and that the choices you make today affect the choices you can or can’t make tomorrow.”The Hawkins family farm supplies the mouth-watering pasture-raised pork in the Moink box that is delivered to your doorstep. “Taking care of our animals is our first priority, and we hope you can taste the evidence in every bite,” Clayton remarks. “I’m thankful consumers can vote with their fork for the quality of meat they want to eat.”
Along with free-range hogs, Tandy and Clayton also raise cattle as well as non-GMO corn, soybeans, and wheat. The Hawkins family prefers their diversified farming model, as it provides intermingled sustainability and strength to a variety of plants and livestock. Clayton hopes to add more diversity in the pasture for an even more holistic approach in the years ahead.“We try to be good stewards and managers of the land we live on,” Clayton says. “Depending on the day, we have to be business managers, agronomists, nutritionists, veterinarians, salesmen, carpenters, construction workers, engineers, mechanics, conservationists, meteorologists, foresters, marketers, and accountants!”
Everything the Hawkins do revolves around keeping their animals healthy. “We feed them our own non-GMO crops and avoid antibiotics, because that’s the best thing for their digestive tract and immune systems,” Tandy emphasizes. “All our livestock are given fresh air and room to roam instead of being in a cramped confinement building. As a result of all this intention and care as well as being heritage breeds, the meat tastes so much better than what you can buy at the grocery store.”
The Hawkins’ farming approach goes against the current Big Agriculture model. In Tandy’s words: “They used to teach balanced farming processes in Midwestern universities in the 50s and 60s, but it started changing in the 70s. Rather than Animal Husbandry, they started calling it Animal Science. They stopped focusing on the care and treatment of the land and animals and became more focused on profit. Over the last 50 years, small and sustainable, low-input farms have been strangled out by high-input corporations. It’s time to get back to local, sustainable production.” The Hawkinses also wish Americans understood more about what happens behind the scenes in food production and that small farms can help give consumers a choice about what they put on their dinner tables. Family farmers are struggling to keep the land that’s been in their families for generations while maintaining the balanced, sustainable approach passed down from their ancestors. Today’s farmers struggle to find good labor as well as dependable markets for their humanely raised meats and other products.
As far as his plans for the future, Tandy said he hopes his diversified family farm can continue to sustainably produce the pork and beef his family has raised for generations. “Our country needs more family farmers and new entrepreneurs like Moink to keep agriculture going,” he says. “The farming life isn’t easy. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose, but we will always keep moving forward in a positive direction.”