Mitchell Ledge Farm is located on Flying Point Road, two miles east of the coastal village of Freeport, Maine (home of L.L.Bean) and back-grounded by the view of "Mitchell Ledge" (200 feet in elevation). Mitchell Ledge Farm's 185 acres of pastures and hay fields, woodlands and stream wetlands is the setting where we have raised our family and our herd of award-winning purebred registered Belted Galloway beef cattle since 1976.
Visitors are always welcome, from those simply curious about the "Oreo Cookie" cows to the serious cattle breeder interested in purchasing breeding stock. We love to show off our Belties and share our forage and woodlot operations with guests.
Our cattle operation uses practical facilities and relies primarily on grass-based feeding programs in which our Belties thrive. By taking advantage of the Beltie's aggressive foraging traits, Maine’s excellent growing season, intensive rotational grazing practices and high quality production of both ensiled and dry hay, we are able to provide an abundance of high quality feed for our Beltie herd.
We are a proud lifetime member of the Belted Galloway Society and a current member of the New England Galloway Group.
Farm operations also include extensive timber management. Each year sustainable tree harvesting projects are undertaken resulting in the production and sale of logs, pulpwood and firewood. Our own farmhouse is a great customer, using 8-10 cords per year to fire the wood boiler.
Foundation stock of the present Belted Galloway herds in the United States and Canada date back to an importation from Scotland in 1948. Since then, when there have been no import restrictions, additional stock has been imported and herds gradually established from Maine to California and Canada to Texas.
Belties are members of the Galloway family of beef cattle, probably the oldest breed in the world today, which originated in the mountainous areas of southwestern Scotland. This area formally know as the province of Galloway, including the present counties of Dumfries, Kirkcudbright and Wigtown, contains some of the coldest, most austere and rough hill land in Britain. Historians in the 17th century commented on the "black hornless beasts of Galloway as much bigger and hardier of constitution than the blacks of Aberdeen."
Belted Galloways are characterized by the unique combination of certain special qualities which, when taken together, distinguish them from other beef cattle breeds. These strong, dominant traits are passed on to their progeny, both purebred and crossbred. The latter are usually polled, black and belted. These calves, having hybrid vigor, grow rapidly and produce a quality of beef, without excess fat, similar to purebred Belties.
Their most important trait, the economical production of beef under range conditions, stems from the fact that Galloways have been bred from their origin for beef production. This range-bred background is why Galloways, unsurpassed in foraging ability, are capable of ranging many miles each day for grass and water and will thrive under conditions that would be disastrous to other breeds. They rarely have foot problems so common with other breeds and will readily eat many grasses and weeds that other cattle refuse to eat until starved. When properly managed, Belties have a pleasant and agreeable temperament, are quiet and docile and easily handled.
Like other Galloways, Belties do not develop much fat under their hides. Instead they have a double coat of hair consisting of a dense, soft, short undercoat and a long, shaggy overcoat which is usually shed in hot weather. This double coat provides excellent protection in cold, wet, windy weather. In contrast, most other beef breeds put on a thick coat of uneconomical fat under their hides to provide the necessary insulation for protection against severe weather conditions.
Disease resistance runs high in the breed as a result of having been bred for centuries under "survival of the fittest" type environments. In addition to this resistance to diseases, they have a "will to live" that is superior to most, if not all other breeds of cattle.
Beltie cows produce a sufficient amount of rich milk to raise a robust calf, which at 205 days will frequently wean at half the dam's weight. Galloways and their crosses when properly finished will dress out at 60 to 62 percent of live weight. Early results from new research indicates Belties may have higher levels of Omega 3s and a greater propensity for the "tenderness gene."
Thus, these unique animals with many virtues seldom recognized, and as yet unexploited, should be of interest to both serious cattle breeders and commercial operators, as well as hobby farmers wishing to have animals on their property for ornamental purposes.
This content has been adapted from various Belted Galloway sources
Since our initial purchase, over 25 years ago, of two bred cows from A.H. Chatfield's herd at Aldermere Farm, we have continued to seek out, acquire and breed excellent maternal and paternal bloodlines of purebred Belted Galloway cattle from other outstanding herds in the US and Canada.
The result: Mitchell Ledge Belties are well conformed, hardy, good natured and bred to succeed and prosper on forage. We have rigorous production oriented standards and goals which provide for only those superior calves to continue on as future breeding stock. We sell the remainder as excellent Feeder Cattle.
All our belties are guaranteed.
Mitchell Ledge is proud to be listed among Maine's FOREVER FARMS. This is a designation for farm properties that have been protected with AGRICULTURAL CONSERVATION EASEMENTS.
The goal of Forever Farms is to celebrate the partnerships between landowners and land trusts that have led to the growing success of farmland protection in Maine.
Listen to the podcast made here at the farm by the people at Forever Farms >