Barbara and James Berry raise laying hens and dairy goats on 15 acres at Wildest Dreams Farm near Clinton, in the sand hills of North Carolina. They both felt a passion for sustainable agriculture early in their careers. Following inspiration from Barbara’s paternal grandfather, who often said a person will be happiest while working with the land, the two farmers created Wildest Dreams Farm together.
Starting with three Nubian/Alpine-cross goats and a small flock of laying hens, Barbara and James knew pasture-based management was the key to a sustainable operation. The land of Wildest Dreams Farm is 50 percent pine and oak forest; the other half is pasture, consisting of Bermuda and rye grasses. The Berrys now have ten goats in their herd, with eight dairy and two Angora goats, which spend their days grazing the lush pastures. “The milk from the Nubian goats has wonderful butterfat that is perfect for my All-Natural Goat Milk Soaps, which I sell online and through the farmers’ market,” Barbara explains.
The flock of laying hens, who are able to forage for food as chickens naturally do, now includes Barred Rock, Americana, and Brahma breeds. “We chose these breeds specifically because they are able to thrive on pastured conditions,” Barbara says. “Their colorful eggs always seem to amaze our customers. All of our animals are allowed to roam freely during the day and they return to their safe, comfortable shelters in the evening.”
Employing high welfare practices is a large component of the livestock operation at Wildest Dreams Farm. Both James and Barbara follow the code that if you respect the laws of nature, you can't go wrong, as Barbara elaborates: “A hands-on relationship with my animals assures me that if issues arise they can be dealt with promptly.”
“We became Animal Welfare Approved to show other livestock farmers that there is an alternative to industrial farming methods,” she explains. “There is scientific proof that supports pasture-raised livestock is healthier, not only for the animals we raise, but for us as well. Becoming AWA certified has made us more aware of the responsibility for the high-welfare treatment of all animals on the farm.”
Handmade goats milk soaps and hand-spun yarns are available from the farm’s online store, as well as at local farmers’ markets. For more information, contact Barbara and James at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their Facebook page or website.