Phillip Sherwood-Berndt has farmed cattle since 1996. “I love the animals, growing great grass for them to feed on, and enjoying the milk and beef that they provide,” he says. Phillip and his wife, Missy Bahret, own and operate Cow Belle Farm in Amherst, Massachusetts, where they raise AWA-certified beef cattle. The 40 acres of certified organic pasture grows on rich, sandy loam soils, and comprises rolling hillsides with some large shade trees, a fantastic view of the Holyoke Range, and has been pasture for cattle for many generations.
The herd of 12 Devon cattle is managed using calm, low-stress methods and moved to new pastures daily. Phillip and Missy chose the Devon breed because of their known ability thrive on a grassfed diet and for producing exceptional meat. Also called “Red Rubies”, Devons tend to have a docile personality that makes them easy to manage. Originaitng in the UK, they are also tolerant of the various weather conditions found in Hampshire County. Raising their cattle outdoors on a pasture is a key aspect of Cow Belle Farm’s farming philosophy: “Pasture-based farming has long-term benefits to the land and the animals by keeping the cycle of nutrients primarily between the piece of land and the animals that graze it,” Phillip explains.
Cow Belle Farm decided to pursue certification with AWA because they felt it was important to show their customers they were adhering to the highest animal welfare standards in the industry. “As more and more people are becoming conscientious consumers and caring about how their meat is being produced, labels like AWA help them to discern our products from the vast selection of options available,” Phillip explains. In the future, Cow Belle Farm plans to continue producing excellent beef and perhaps even develop a small scale organic dairy.