Three generations strong, the Barham family operates farm with great care.
The origins of the 100-acre Barham Family Farm in Kearney trace to the 1800s, more than a century ago when infamous outlaw Jesse James was born in the area. Three generations of Barhams currently run the farm, using sustainable practices to care for the land where cattle, chickens, and other animals are raised.
“The farm was originally 300 acres,” Kenny Barham says. “When my wife Annette’s grandmother passed, her mother inherited 100 acres. We bought the land from her and built a house on the farm.”
Kenny and Annette’s sons Dusty and Kody also farm land in Kearney and Lathrop.
Barham Family Farm offers pasture-raised Angus beef, chicken, and other fowl as well as farm-fresh eggs. Nearby local farms raise the pork and lamb sold by Barham, using the same sustainable practices. Animals are naturally and sustainably raised without the use of genetically-modified organisms (GMO), chemicals, antibiotics, or growth hormones.
Rather than use feedlots, the Barhams use pasture-based farming to improve conditions for the health of the animals and the land. Cattle feed on grass and also eat locally grown non-GMO corn to enhance marbling and flavor. Grazing animals are rotated to different pastures to prevent overgrazing of the land and to add natural organic material, such as manure, that fertilizes soil.
The farm stockpiles grass for feeding cattle. When they resort to hay, the Barhams unroll the bales rather than place them whole in a hay ring, or feeder. The cattle scatter manure over a wider area as they feed and don’t damage the soil while gathered around a set location.
Barham Family Farm receives day-old chicks from a supplier and brood them inside for two weeks. Shavings from the brooder are composted after brooding.
“We then move them outside to our pasture pens, a portable shelter that protects them from predators,” Barham says.
Chickens roost in a 12×12 shelter at night equipped with a covered tarp, feed, and water. They roam free on pasture by day to feed and scratch at grass and earth, providing a natural means to work organic material into the soil.
Barham says, “We move the shelters twice a day, morning and night, so the chickens always have fresh grass.”
Legumes planted on rotating pastures between grass seeding add nitrogen to the soil for nourishment.
Soil erosion isn’t an issue the Kearney farm. As stewards of the land, the Barhams’ farming practices prevent overgrazing. Barham adds, “We don’t till the soil or grow row crops that would contribute to erosion.”
Online orders can be placed for Barham Family Farm’s “pasture to porch” home delivery or local pickup. The farm delivers to customers throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area. Online orders placed by Tuesday are delivered on Thursday of that week. Customers may also pick up orders at the farm.
By selling direct rather than through retailers, the farm minimizes waste from transportation, energy, and packaging that would impact the environment.
In April, the family will open Wildflower Dreamz General Store as a convenient one-stop location to buy farm products.
“The general store will have our meat products, eggs, bread, baked goods, honey, milk, butter, candles, and soap made from our goats’ milk,” Barham says.
Local chefs proudly feature Barham Family Farm’s meat and eggs on the menu at Tannin Wine Bar, The Antler Room, Justus Drugstore, Black Dirt, The Sundry, The Farmhouse, Brookside Poultry Company, and other restaurants (see sidebar).
“Each time his name was mentioned at a restaurant, the running commentary became, ‘That Kenny Barham, he is a good man,’” said Leslie Newsam, co-owner of The Antler Room.
The farm also sells its products at the Liberty and Kearney farmers markets on Saturday mornings for easy access.
Barham Family Farm
16600 NE 128 St.,
Kearney, MO 64060