Authors, The Independent Farmstead

About Shawn & Beth

Shawn and Beth Dougherty have been farming together since the 1980s,  for the last 26 years in eastern Ohio, where they manage 27 acres designated by the state as ‘not suitable for agriculture’, as well as a monastery farm of 100 acres.

Using intensive grazing as the primary source of food energy, they raise dairy and beef cows, sheep, farm-fed hogs, and a variety of poultry, producing most of the food, and feed, on the farm.

Concerned that farming is so often dependent upon multiple off-farm resources—from feed, fuel, and fertilizer, to water and electricity—their ongoing project is to identify and test the means by which farming was done for centuries with a minimum of off-farm inputs. Their research has led them to identify grass conversion, especially the daily conversion of grass into milk by dairy ruminants, as a key to whole-farm sustainability, feeding the whole farm community: humans, ruminants, pigs, poultry, and soil.

They write and travel on farming, dairying, farm-raised animal foods, and off-grid captured water systems. Shawn & Beth are the authors of The Independent Farmstead published by Chelsea Green Publishing and The Independent Farmstead’s Field Guides to Inputs-Free Farming and Homesteading (

2024 Homesteaders of America Conference


DATE: October 11-12, 2024

2024 Homestead Business Weekend

TOPIC: Making Profit From Your Extras & Building a Profitable Dairy Herdshare

DATE: April 12-13, 2024

2024 Homestead Women’s Retreat


DATE: November 8-9, 2024