The Farmer's of Covey Rise
We are Charlie & Kerissa Payne, first generation farmers and ranchers raising our meat & children freely and naturally.
Covey Rise Farms was born on a 14 acre lot, and an old farm house. Charlie started this journey like most homesteaders out there, he raised sheep, turkeys, and chickens. He sold eggs to neighbors, wholesaled all of the sheep and chickens, and then grew turkeys for thanksgiving for everyone he knew.
Fast forward to 2018
Charlie and I met in April. We quickly became a team and by May we started making farming decisions together. Starting a farmer's market in Westerville and doing farm chores together. Right before we met, he decided to purchase 54 acers of ground after being approached with an only possible by God land opportunity. He hadn't closed on the farm, as it was through USDA and took a lifetime to finalize until that fall.
Winter of 2018
Charlie the chicken guy, quickly shifted to Charlie and Kerissa. That winter our dreams of selling direct to consumer grew and so did our aspirations for our future. We knew we couldn't afford to keep both properties, so we had fixed up the old farmhouse to sell and had hoped to take the profits from the house to build our new barn home. The 54 acers were blank dirt that had nothing but soil and potential, so it needed lots of money and time to get it functional.
I went to California to learn to ship meat, as very few farms were doing it in our area, and especially with pastured poultry. As soon as I came back the house sold, and we had to quickly move before chicken season started. The hope was that we could use Charlie's income from his fulltime job to pay for many of the farm buildouts, like our hoop barns, brooders, septic, road, pretty much everything you needed to build for a farm to work. Then layoffs came and Charlie lost his job out of nowhere. Not only did he not have a job, but we also weren't prepared for that yet.
We knew we had to decide between building a home and building our farm, we couldn't afford to do both as new farmers. We decided the reward of feeding other families and healing our soil far outweighed the negatives of postponing our home build. So we got scrappy and put our business first.
We got married and had a humble wedding on our farm, and put everything we had from time to money into building it out.
We had our first baby, Sadie and added beef to our business.
We found out we were pregnant with our 2nd, and land prices around us soared. The reality sank in that we wouldn't be able to buy more land in our area. So we went back to the table to brainstorm ideas for our business.
We began our journey looking at farms in Kansas. We knew we needed more land, and Ohio wasn't going to provide it. Kansas not only had great land, but it offered connections we had to agriculture. Not growing up in ag, knowledge was something we really wanted to expand. Charlie went to college with a guy who was looking to expand his grain operation but needed help in a small town in western Kansas. So they began to explore partnership opportunities where they each could grow their own businesses, and we could expand our meat business.
We had our second baby, and Charlie made several trips to Kansas to finalize business deals, our house where we would live, and all the things. After we had agreements and things, we finally locked in we finally announced our move. In the summer of 2023, we sold everything we owned, and moved to Kansas.
Our business in Kansas looks a little different. We are still raising and selling meat direct to consumer, but we have also added some custom feeding for other farmers, and hopefully here soon row crops. Being a beginning farmer means you need income diversification; you can't rely on one single revenue source to support your family.
Charlie grew up in the suburbs, dreaming of farm fields and livestock as a child. He is a Virginia Tech graduate with a degree in Natural Resources Conservation, along with a minor in Agricultural Economics. He applied his conservation knowledge and work ethic to build farm and our various businesses.
While his college degree helps us work with our land, instead of against it, his fundraising experience helps us with our marketing, networking, and operations. Managing a farm isn't easy and the foundation of your success is usually dependent upon relationships. Charlie can dance the line between personal and professional with ease, working with our butchers on issues, to negotiating hay prices, and putting out farm crises like feed delays and livestock complications.
From his fundraising days, he knows geography better than most, and can make do with a limited budget. He has been involved in Ohio Farm Bureau, sat on farmers market boards, and was often consulted by other beginning farmers across the US looking to start farms or businesses.
Kerissa grew up in a small rural town in Southern, Ohio. Where she came from farming was a hobby, not a fulltime job. Kerissa wanted to understand the connection between the soil and the food she ate everyday. She began to question to ingredients and started searching for a middle ground between healthy and affordability.
In college she started to experience major health issues, that started to interfere with her quality of life. She knew healthy eating was more than eating vegetables and cutting back on sugar. After we had gotten married Kerissa took matters into her own hands, went off medication and decided she was going to make changes in her personal life with stress and her diet.
Today Kerissa uses her experience with food, her hard work ethic from her upbringing and her work experience with public programs to help us tackle projects, manage our shipping, farm operations, and e-commerce each day.
The farmers you see on here, are the real farmers and ranchers of Covey Rise Farms. Together, we raise Prime Dry Aged Beef, and the highest quality meat you can find for our family and yours. We don't believe in cutting corners or skipping on nutrition. We have put everything we have into the farm that you see today and are proud to say our animals come first every time, not just when it's convenient.
Growing our Brand:
Our farm has grown through extensive hard work, long days, great customers, social media and several publications. We have been blessed to be featured on the front page of the New York Times, Edible Columbus, Columbus Monthly, along with several podcasts and local publications.
We have grown to use our social media to help shine light on food production, hopefully allowing for consumer education and spreading awareness on where your food comes from, but most of all we hope that you are able to smile and laugh at our ups and downs as we create this farm.