Whispering Winds Farm is a diversified family farm in the North Carolina Piedmont. Tom and Debbie White raise Animal Welfare Approved laying hens and goats as part of a holistic farm management plan. The Whites purchased their land in increments and now have almost 30 acres, with a good mix of pasture, open land, forestry, commercial water gardens, and beautiful views of the shores of Lake Norman. Wooded areas remain natural with native plants and abundant wildlife.
Debbie and Tom raise Dwarf Nigerian dairy goats, chosen for their size and ease of handling, as well as for being good natured and highly personable. The Whites also manage a variety of breeds of hens, chosen for their suitability to pasture-raising, productivity, physical characteristics, and egg color. Their flock of 85 hens roam and forage wooded and open areas. Debbie explains the couple’s husbandry practices: “Our animals have access to pasture and wooded areas during the day, and we put them to bed at night for security from predators. We want them to live as naturally as possible,” she says. Debbie and Tim use pasture rotation to ensure their animals have constant access to the most nutritious forage, as well as for insect and parasite control.
On being certified by Animal Welfare Approved, Debbie says, “AWA gives us advice when we need it and helps us target areas for improvement. We now have a guide and a plan for our farm and the animals here, thanks to AWA. The program is free and we are audited annually for compliance, which gives our customers added confidence in our practices. We are truly grateful for all of the assistance.”
Long term, the couple would like to add other species to the farm, including AWA pigs, meat birds, and rabbits—as well as mushrooms and other crops. They would also like to begin breeding their goats. “Kid management from birth to breeding is an essential component of the dairy goat enterprise,” Debbie explains. “Along with nutritional management of the does, this has the greatest effect on long-term productivity of our goat herd.”
In addition to their dairy products, Tom and Debbie sell a mix of vegetable plants, herbs and flowers that they start in the greenhouse, as well as statues, water fountains, benches, and craft items. “We enjoy meeting folks and learning and teaching what we have been fortunate enough to experience here on our farm,” says Debbie. “We are fortunate enough to have the support of our family, friends and community who wait patiently for the next flat of eggs or fresh vegetables and herbs!” The Whites are also grateful for the help of Debbie’s brother, Tony Rice, and sister, “Sissy” Rice, in maintaining the farm. “We could not imagine this farm without their help with tours, markets and on the farm work!” says Debbie.
Whispering Winds Farm is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily and on most weekends by appointment. The Whites also host farm tours and workshops. For more information on purchasing Whispering Wind Farm’s AWA-certified goat dairy products and eggs, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (828) 478-5782 or visit www.whisperingwindsfarm.com.