Our Philosophy & History
We are a third generation sheep and grain farm that respects and builds upon the past while looking ahead to the future. The emphasis in our registered Dorset and hampshire sheep breeding programs is
on correct structure and traits that correspond to longevity and productivity, including depth of rib, natural width, and diameter of bone. We also have a high respect for breed type and
select our Dorsets to display the head shape similar to their ancestors, plus retain the maternal instinct and year-round lambing characteristics that propelled the Dorset breed to be popular
and valuable for so many years. Over the past two decades we have averaged 200 Dorset brood ewes and 50 Hampshire brood ewes, and now are beginning a limited reduction of those numbers.
We manage an accelerated lambing rotation of 3 lambings every 2 years for our Dorset flock, with all of our Dorsets lambing naturally in the fall at some point with no use of ovulation enhancing drugs. Our Hampshires are also selected to reflect breed type and productivity while remaining competitive in the showring.
First Place Dorset Flock and Premier Exhibitor
at the Minnesota State Fair
Gene's great-great grandfather, Abraham Sanford, purchased land about 1 mile from
our farm in the 1850's. His son, Arriel Sanford, purchased the farmstead where we currently live in 1881.
Arriel sold it in 1894 to move out West, and then his son, Elmer Sanford, purchased it in 1905. From 1905 through today, our farm has been owned in the Sanford Family.
In 1925 the farm was co-inherited by Howard Sanford due to the early death of his father. Howard and his wife Helen later purhased full interest, raised 4 children and began a registered Droset flock from seed stock purchased on trips out East in the 1950s (in addition to their commercial flock). In 1981 Gene Sanford purchased the original homestead from his parents; together with Marci they have added other parcels. In 2005 we were officially recognized by the State of Minnesota as a Century Farm with 100 continuous years of family ownership.
Above: Howard & Gene Sanford with Champion Ram at the 1984 Minnesota State Fair (bred and owned).
Left: 1910 photo of the new four story barn built by Elmer & Elsie Sanford. Cows were housed on 1st level, sheep on 2nd and 3rd levels, and chickens on the 4th floor. Now in the sunset of its usefullness, we still house sheep on the 1st and 2nd levels.