The Alpern family established Vision Farms in 1999 in El Paso, Texas. They expanded the original 12 acres to 160, and made the entire property organic. The Alperns produce alfalfa, cotton, or wheat according to their rotation. Diversity of daily chores is a major plus for everyone involved. With an extensive plot of land and assortment of animals, responsibilities ebb and flow at different times.
The venture is a family affair. Laura Alpern, the matriach of the bunch, makes sure everything is in order at all times–from their Quarter Horse breeding program, to crop yields, to management. Her advice for new farmers :
“Keep really good records and cultivate your suppliers and friends. There will be an abundance of time when you will be leaning on them and vice versa. Do your homework before you start, and ask advice from every person that you can.” -Farmer Laura Alpern
“I grew up in New York City, and from the moment I spent a summer on a working cattle ranch at age 12, I knew it was the life I wanted. The work is hard, and goes on in the cold of winter and the blistering heat of El Paso summers, but the rewards are there. We have been so fortunate to have met the farmers around us. Everything thing is done with a hand shake and we have never been disappointed.” -Farmer Laura Alpern
“I love the seasons. Each is beautiful in its own way from planting in the spring to weeding to harvest. Additionally foaling season is the best of all. Watching that foal take her first breathe and struggle to her first step is magical. I am so happy that my children could experience farm life style. Our daughter is now an equine veterinarian and is caring on her mother’s torch for horses.” -Farmer Laura Alpern
“There has never been a time in my life without an animal in it that needed to be cared for and tended to. I have my parents to thank for instilling this level of responsibility in my upbringing. I remember going out to the farm in my prom dress with my mother to make sure the mare who was about to foal was prepped for her new arrival. I want my own boys feel responsible to the environment beyond themselves, and having a relationship with the family farm is a great way to do that. ” -Veterinarian Alana Alpern
“My husband and I want our boys to respect animals, understand their language beyond the friendly, family dog and recognize dangerous situations. Having fun with animals is important, but understanding a deeper layer of animal language will keep them safer.” -Veterinarian Alana Alpern
“El Paso is our chosen home. We toured the country to decide where we would like to live and El Paso won, hands down. We are a bi-lingual city so our children speak both English and Spanish. Much to many peoples surprise we are the safest city of our size in the US. I love the desert climate, and let’s not forget the most amazing Mexican food ever.” -Farmer Laura Alpern
Alana Alpern runs her practice, Blue Heron Equine, Inc., out of her truck that’s a moving hospital. She treats horses for western and eastern medicine and dogs and cats for exclusively eastern medicine.
“Know the true costs of becoming a veterinarian both financially and emotionally. Do this by spending time in more difficult moments under a mentor and doing your homework on the cost of education.” -Veterinarian Alana Alpern