In 2012, Dr. Michael Sands entered into a long-term lease arrangement with his retired in-laws to farm their 200-acre property, Over Jordan Farm, in Rappahannock County, Virginia. On 110 acres of pasture land, Sands created the sheep and cattle enterprise, Bean Hollow Grassfed.
With over 30 years of experience in sustainable agriculture, environmental conservation, and community based economic development, Sands has worked on a broad range of innovative projects around the world. At Bean Hollow Grassfed, Sands wanted to use his training to revive Over Jordan Farm's worn-out pastures and develop a financially stable farm model.
Mike Sands partnered with The Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) and Virginia Cooperative Extension to secure a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) through the Natural Resource Conservation Service. This grant enabled Sands to develop a project that could take measurements and demonstrate the positive impacts of some of the improved practices he employed on his farm. Other key partners included the Virginia Cooperative Extension, Culpeper Soil & Water Conservation District, the USDA NRCS Culpeper Office and Virginia Working Landscapes.