Guy and Gage Stueve got their start in farming at an early age. "I was probably 9 and Gage was 10," says Guy, "when we started a small beef herd. We've been in business together pretty much ever since."
Today, they work alongside their father Lloyd, farming a stretch of land not far from the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and Yosemite National Park. It's land that's steeped in the American traditions of conservation and farming, traditions that the brothers take seriously.
"Basically I grew up on a horse," Gage says, "raising stock and milking before and after school. So I've had a very fortunate upbringing." After high school, the boys went off to college—Guy to study animal science and Gage to learn business.
"Then there comes a day when you've got to make a decision: Do you come back to the farm?" says Guy. "My brother and I, we both chose to come back. So we had a little farm, my dad and us, and we're trying to figure out how we can keep our farm and all be farmers together."
With several generations of dairy farming behind them, the Stueves built a dairy barn and began to build a herd of organic cows. They also joined the Organic Valley co-op, now one of the nation's largest, back when organic was no sure thing. "I remember talking to my dad and saying, 'What is organic?' It was a new thing for me," remembers Guy. "And there's this little co-op back in Wisconsin? I'm like, 'How is this going to work?'"