Working as a well-known public safety service dog trainer and certified police officer for the last 20 years, Tracy Sargent had little background in agriculture when she started Jumping Frog Farm in Cedartown, Georgia. But her strong drive to provide animals with an excellent life, as well as to create a self-sufficient property, motivated her to pursue her dream to have a livestock farm, and now her flock of laying hens is certified Animal Welfare Approved.
Tracy started out by researching what species would thrive on the primarily wooded 40 acres. She found that raising chickens outdoors on the small pasture areas would be a natural fit for the environment, and would integrate well with her plans to grow a variety of crops in her garden. Jumping Frog Farm’s small flock of laying hens is a colorful mix of hardy, dual purpose breeds, including Orpingtons, Speckled Sussex, Rhode Island Reds, and Ameraucanas.
Taking the best care of the animals and land is the top priority at Jumping Frog Farm. “If we take care of the land and the animals, they will take care of us,” Tracy says. She manages the flock outdoors on pasture, as she believes that pasture-based management improves the health of the animal, leading to healthier, tastier eggs. Research shows that pastured eggs contain three times as much vitamin E, seven times more beta-carotene, and twice the omega-3 fatty acids as industrial eggs. “We all have to eat and if I know I have a product that would be healthier for my family, I would choose that over anything else,” she says. “If you take care of the animals they’ll be happier, healthier, and more productive. They deserve to be given the absolute best life and best care possible while they are in our care.”
Tracy applied for AWA certification in an effort to ensure she was doing everything she possibly could to provide a high-welfare life for the animals. “I consider the AWA standards as a resource to learn more about the needs of my animals,” she explains. But she also wanted the farm to be recognized for its commitment to high-welfare production, since she feels that is what many consumers are looking for: “I believe there is a recent increase in awareness and shift in social responsibility, and that people are now understanding that they have choices when it comes to the source of their food.”
Tracy’s overall goal for the farm will always be to seek to understand the animals, give them what they need to be their best, and provide the animals with an excellent life in an environment natural to their needs.
Tracy currently sells her high quality eggs to nearby friends, family, and neighbors directly from her farm by appointment. Call (770) 722-4241 for details. For more information about Jumping Frog Farm, visit www.jumpingfrogfarm.com.