Lance Barnes grew up milking cows, bucking hay and feeding pigs on his grandfather’s farm before joining the Army and serving more than 26 years including deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Inherent Resolve.

In 2012, at his last duty station working with the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas, Lance and his wife, Lorinda, rented a small farm where they raised chickens, ducks, cattle and sheep.

“We learned what works and what we enjoyed, while being able to make mistakes during the process and still have the security of my paycheck,” Lance said. “We taught ourselves to butcher our livestock. We learned to make soap using the fat we rendered from our cattle and sheep, and adding milk from our dairy cows.”

Retiring from the Army in 2016, Lance and Lorinda moved to Priest River, Idaho, where they planted an orchard, built a home and got to work expanding their 60-acre homestead. Today, they own and operate North Woods Homestead where they produce orchard fruits, garden produce and berries, hay, trained registered Mini Jersey family milk cows, Jersey milk soap, lumber, and rare Salmon Faverolle chickens under the Homegrown By Heroes label.