Zach Miller grew up on his grandfather’s farm in Charlottesville, Virginia when it was still a “gentleman’s farm” for racehorses. But Zach and his parents wanted to take the family legacy in a new direction. Zach wanted to see the farm—his childhood home—preserved as a profitable model of an alternative to industrial agriculture. That meant great-tasting steaks, healthy grasses, and a land stewardship that could continue long into the future.
“We’ve produced a product that speaks for itself and the meat is far superior to what I grew up eating,” Zach shares. “It just makes sense. If you take care of the animals and the land, it tastes fresh and you feel good when you get done with it.”
Always focusing on bettering the farm and land, Zach and his family recently took their sustainability plan one step further and added solar panels to their barn (which dates back to the 1800s). This 75 KW system offsets all their power needs, helps them take strides toward self-sufficiency, and simultaneously reduces their carbon footprint and improves the health of the planet.
At Timbercreek Farm, Zach raises grass-finished cattle on rolling grasslands divided by hardwood forest. Their herd consists of New Zealand Angus-Tarentaise cross, two breeds that produce amazing meat when finished on grasses. These breeds thrive on the native cool-season grasses of Virginia and high energy seasonal annuals.
Much like their herd management, grass at Timbercreek focuses on supporting species that thrive naturally and promote sustainability. Clover and radish enrich the soil, ensuring the continuing sustainability of the growing system. In fact, an ongoing research project at the University of Virginia shows promising results that Timbercreek contributes no net nitrogen to the watershed.
“I thought I could make a difference on this little piece of land in central Virginia,” he says. “I have a family and it’s part of our heritage. I want to see it prosper so I can one day pass it along to my kids and give them the same experiences growing up that I had.”
Zach developed a multi-species farm with an intensively managed rotational grazing system. This regenerative program allows all of Timbercreek’s animals to live stress-free lives on fresh pastures while having a positive impact on the local environment.