About Sunny Day Farms

Farm motto or mission statement:

To harvest sunshine! We do this by growing abundant grasses which we harvest with our grazing livestock. We also practice environmental stewardship and humane animal care.

Location of Sunny Day Farms

Palmer, KS (37 miles from People's Grocery)

Are you open to visits or tours? 
Visitors are welcome by appointment! (sunnyday@bluevalley.net, or text 785-313-2056), or call 785-348-5715, so that we can show you around.

Please share a brief synopsis of the history of your farm:
Grandpa Clarence started Stuenkel Farms. Our family has always had a reputation as being hard-working, straight-forward, honest, frugal individuals who were called to be good stewards of the land and animals under our care.  We have always routinely moved our livestock to fresh pastures for the health of both the animals and the grasses. Now this practice has become popular and is called “rotational grazing,” but it is nothing new for us. We have also allowed them to graze the pastures and have free-choice of hay and mineral supplements if they want it. Grazing is what cows do best and giving them options of what to graze on and when, makes for happy animals.

Our cropland and cow-calf operation remain under the original Struenkel Farms name. However, this isn’t an easy name to remember, or spell. So recently, the Grass-Fed-Beef portion of our farm has been named Sunny Day Farms! Sunny Day came from Lucinda’s nickname of Sunshine, given to her by fellow teachers at her first job. When she got her first e-mail in 1987, the email name “sunshine” was taken, so she went with “SunnyDay”, which is also appropriate for how we raise forage for our cattle via photosynthesis.

What animals do you raise?
Angus and Angus Crossbreds

Livestock at Sunny Day Farms

Which, if any, organic certification does your farm have? If none, do you use organic or conventional practices?
We are NOT certified organic. However, we raise them the old-fashioned way, (pre-industrial era), without grain or hormones.

Which chemicals (antibiotics, de-wormer, hormones, etc.) do you use? How often?
We have NEVER used hormones. On the rare occasion that an animal might need an antibiotic, they receive treatment, but then automatically, that animal is excluded from our special Grass-Fed/Grass-Finished Beef program. For the comfort and health of our animals, we use a pour-on de-wormer twice a year. We have never used the injectable wormer. We are currently experimenting with garlic and spices mixed into the free-choice mineral so that we can eliminate the wormer completely.

Describe the type of grazing system you employ. (For example, do you rotate your pastures/rangeland? Do you use fertilizer or plant seeds for forage?)
We use a rotational grazing system and they graze 360 plus days of the year. We move them to fresh grazing paddocks at least every two weeks. Our cattle graze on native prairie, brome, alfalfa, sorghum-Sudan grass (when the prairie grass dies in August), and sorghum leaves (non-GMO) and a cover crop of oat grass, radishes and turnips. November through February, and cereal rye grass or triticale grass during March and April. When the grass is not as nutritious in the winter, they have free choice of brome or alfalfa hay as well as their grazing fields.

When supplementing your feed, what type of feed do you use? Do you make an effort to avoid GMOs?
We do not feed grain, so, no GMO’s here. Our native prairie, brome, alfalfa, milo leaves and cover crops are also non-GMO.

Do you feed your animals vitamins and/or use mineral blocks? 
Yes, we provide free-choice vitamin and minerals for our cattle including Kelp from an organic supplier.      

What would you like People’s Grocery Co-op shoppers to know about your products? What sets you apart?
We have happy cows. They are able to do what cows naturally like to do- graze on forage. Visitors tell us that our cows are the gentlest ones they have ever seen. We generally either lead them on foot or walk behind them on foot, rather than using vehicles, which is less stressful on them. We regularly offer them a fresh smorgasbord of food in the form of fresh pastures. We are small enough to know each cow as an individual and know their personality and preferences. We wait to have our calves later in the spring so that they have a warmer calving season. A side note, our cows live longer because they still have their teeth because they don’t eat any grain. We also have special genetics so our cattle are able to gain weight on a grass diet and therefore have more Omega-3 in their meat. Our Farm has received numerous conservation grants and awards including a Pasture Management award and Rangeland Management Award. We do not spray our pastures, so there is an abundance of wildflowers to enjoy. We have even planted 1.5 acres of wildflowers for pollinator habitat. Farm visitors enjoy wildflower walks, bird watching, and relaxing at our new on-farm bed and breakfast. Family reunion organizers, churches, and non-profit agencies often use our venue for their meetings. We also hosted a wedding when two People’s Grocery members married each other! Many of our customers have asked us to start an on-farm store for the purchase of meat in larger quantities than People’s Grocery has room for. Our on-farm store opened the Fall of 2018 and is self-service like the wonderful bulk section at People’s Grocery, except there is only beef and chicken available thus far.

What vision do you have for the future of your farm and/or the future of food?
It is important to us to have happy, healthy cattle and be good stewards of our natural resources.