Hill & Vale Farms, LLC

Joe & Bonnie Austin, Farmer Owners

Wykoff, Minnesota (2.25 hours from Valley Natural Foods)

507-352-4441 (On-farm shopping by appointment only.)

Product Overview: Hill & Vale Farms provide fresh bulk beef to Valley Natural Foods twice a week. Their pastured cattle are raised on a forage-based diet balanced with limited farm-raised whole grains, without antibiotics or growth hormones. Their beef is USDA processed at Geneva Meats, a small local plant 60 miles from Valley Natural Foods.

Raising livestock together since 1962
In operation in rural Wykoff since 1971
“Down in the Valley” Partners since 2006

“We provide young tender beef with an old fashioned flavor.”

Nestled in the scenic Root River Valley of southeast Minnesota, Joe and Bonnie Austin purchased their current farm in 1971 because of its natural beauty, its affordability and its potential for livestock expansion. Starting with an Iowa livestock farm in 1962, the Austins raised and milked dairy cows for 25 years on their rural Wykoff farm. Creating new opportunities in the mid-1990s, Joe and Bonnie starting selling fresh lamb and beef at farmer’s markets and other local spots. Their personable connection to customers who appreciated their home raised, natural meats grew into a wide network of grocery stores, co-ops and restaurants.

Conservation on their farm of rolling hills and valleys has always been important to Joe and Bonnie. Many of the original corn acres were converted to pasture for rotational grazing and optimum nutrition for their cows and sheep. The Austin’s farm was one of the first to reach the top level of Fillmore County’s Conservation Security Program. They have worked diligently to meet and to maintain all recommended practices of this program, not only to nurture and preserve their land for their own lifetimes but also for generations to come.

Currently raising over 300 beef cows per year and still selling direct, Joe and Bonnie often market their beef cooperatively with other local farmers who use the same production methods. This has been one way to sustain family farms in their area. Family farms, and their combined support of local business for farm and personal needs, in turn sustains schools, emergency and other local services for a healthy local economy.

The Austin’s commitment to selling beef directly to families, stores and restaurants keeps costs down and allows each cook, chef and butcher to satisfy the needs and requests of their family members or customers. Through all their valued experiences and marketing opportunities, Hill & Vale Farms has become financially sound and owners Joe and Bonnie have benefited in many other ways as well. They say it best, “It has been rewarding to meet new people and to have them appreciate our efforts in providing a healthy meat choice. We have made many friends along the way in growing our business.”