Benji Anderson raises Animal Welfare Approved pigs in northeast Georgia, just outside of Athens. A Georgia native, Benji grew up watching his uncle farm and developed a love of agriculture at an early age. After college and a brief stint as a biologist, Benji came back to farming. He worked for three years at a local farm raising pastured hogs and row crops, during which time he saved up enough money to put a down payment on his own farm.
Anderson Farms consists of 48 rolling acres, including pasture and cut-over scrub, young trees, and some mature oak and hickory woods. When he first started, Benji was buying feeder pigs, which were often difficult to source. To ensure a more reliable supply he started keeping sows and soon developed a breeding program. Incorporating Berkshire and Duroc genetics, Benji selected for consistent meat quality and ability to thrive on pasture. He now has 10 sows and one boar, and about 90–100 pigs in various stages of growth at any given time.
Benji says that pasture-based management improves the health of the animal and the quality of the meat: “Animals raised outdoors and kept on fresh ground benefit from exercise, low stress, varied diets, strong immune systems, low disease pressure, and a pretty good time!” He also adds that his pasture-based farm is far more neighborly when it comes to the smell associated with industrial hog operations.
Benji explains that consumers benefit from more complex flavors in the pastured meat, with lower saturated fats and higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. He adds, “Consumers also should pride themselves on supporting their local communities and making pasture-based farms successful through their purchases.”
Becoming Animal Welfare Approved was part of Benji’s plan from the beginning, and he is proud to be part of the program. “AWA ensures a really high standard of management and care,” he says. “I consider it an honor to have the certification. It gives me a lot of legitimacy.” Benji has many long-term farming goals, including farming full-time (he currently works as a part-time carpenter), growing as much feed as he can for the hogs on his own farm, creating a stable business and a healthy farm, and continuing to improve his management practices.
Benji sells his high quality pork to area restaurants and directly to customers by appointment. Whole hogs may also be ordered cut to the customer’s specification, wrapped, and frozen. Delivery is possible: call (404) 202-7642 for details. For more information about Anderson Farms, visit www.andersonfarmsgeorgia.com or visit the farm’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Anderson-Farms/1395452990685080