Chad Ray, a tenth generation family farmer, along with his wife, Jodi Ray, raise Certified Grassfed by AGW beef cattle along with Certified AWA pigs and laying hens on pasture at Ray Family Farms in Louisburg, North Carolina.
Chad and Jodi manage a herd of Belted Galloway beef cattle at Ray Family Farms. In fact, the beef cattle herd was the first in NC to be Certified Grassfed by AGW. This is the only certification and logo in the U.S. and Canada that guarantees food products come from animals fed a 100% grass and forage diet, raised outdoors on pasture or range for their entire lives, and managed according to the highest welfare and environmental standards on an independent family farm. A breed that originated in the hilly countryside of southwest Scotland, Belted Galloway are ideal for pasture-based systems because they are highly efficient grazers, converting rough grazing and forage into flavorful, high-quality beef—something that keeps Ray Family Farm customers coming back for more!
Chad and Jodi also manage Certified AWA pigs and laying hens, adding to the array of livestock at Ray Family Farms. The Large Black Hogs, a docile breed known for their maternal qualities, foraging abilities, and high-quality meat, are also well-suited to pasture-based production systems. They spend their days outdoors on pasture or range where they are freely able to demonstrate natural behaviors such as rooting and tilling the soil. Chad and Jodi rotate the hogs through areas of woodland and pasture to help clear weeds, underbrush, small trees, and vines. Moving them regularly ensures there is no build-up of diseases or parasites.
The variety of laying hens at Ray Family Farms include Welsummers, Wyndottes, Bragg Mountain Buff, Buff Orpingtons, Dominique, Araucanas, and Minorcas. The birds are raised outdoors on pasture and spend their days dust bathing, scratching, and foraging for insects. Pasture-based management not only provides the highest welfare conditions for the hens, but also produces healthier eggs containing three times as much vitamin E, seven times more beta-carotene, and twice the omega-3 fatty acids as industrial eggs.
Chad and Jodi feel honored to be associated with the AWA program. Chad explains, “By being a Certified AWA farm, we can show potential customers all over the country the same thing by proudly presenting our AWA logo. There’s a powerful and trusted brand being built upon everyday by AWA farms. We are proud to serve ourselves, our customers, our animals, and our creator by being a part of such a fantastic organization.”
The farm’s holistic philosophy extends across the farm—and also to its customers. “All God’s creatures are important here–including canines and felines that find a home here, the fish in our ponds, the fowl in the sky and on the ground, and the wildlife for whom we grow native food plots,” Chad explains. “We share these blessings with friends, family, and many who come as guests and leave as friends. This farm has given us both opportunity and responsibility to take care of it and to use it wisely at its ‘highest and best value.’ The result of 25 years of ownership and careful husbandry is an incredibly beautiful place, filled with thriving animals, fresh wholesome produce, eggs and meats, beautiful flowers, and much more.” Ray Family Farms encourages visitors by appointment and enjoys sharing its bounty straight from the farm. For more information, visit Rayfamilyfarms.com, follow the farm’s Facebook page, or contact Chad and Jodi Ray at (919) 422-1365.