By Animal Welfare Approved
| September 5, 2014
Jeffrey and Mary-Jean Henry raise AWA-certified dairy goats at Cranberry Creek Farm near Cresco in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Their herd is made up of American Alpine dairy goats, a versatile breed which is known for its high milk production and ability to thrive in a variety of climates.
Janet Pesaturo raises Animal Welfare Approved laying hens at One Acre Farm in Bolton, Massachusetts. The small farm sits on one acre of cleared land, just as the name suggests. In addition to being the home for her small flock of laying hens, Janet also grows a variety of fruit, berry, and nut-producing trees, shrubs, and vines, and tends to large vegetable and perennial flower gardens. The chickens range throughout a fenced area where apple trees, blueberry bushes, and hazelnut bushes provide shade and cover. Compost bins are also placed in the chicken yard, under the shade of the apple trees, providing additional fun and forage for the birds.
Michael Smith has worked in many types of agricultural production, including raising pigs, poultry, dairy goats and beef cattle, as well as greenhouse growing, grain crops and honey. In 2001, he was able to purchase his own farm and has been farming full-time since 2005.
Meagan Schalich’s grandfather established a sheep and chicken ranch in 1920, just one and half miles away from her and husband Brady’s current farm in Petaluma, California. For nine years the couple lived in a 100-year-old farm house on her family’s property until they were able to find their own land nearby in 2011. Brady, a contractor by trade, built the couple’s home and they went to work establishing Old Seeder Farm on the four-acre property, named after an ancient piece of farm equipment they unearthed while pruning an overgrown oak tree.
Eloy and Anita Roybal raise AWA-certified laying hens and beef cattle at E&A Ranch & Garden in Mora, New Mexico. E&A Ranch & Garden is a member of Los de Mora Local Growers’ Cooperative, Inc., a producer-owned cooperative made up of 35 family farms and ranches in the area. Selling through a cooperative can offer many advantages. For example, by aggregating and coordinating supply, the individual family farm members can secure larger market opportunities that would be impossible to achieve on their own, while cooperatives offer consumers the opportunity to purchase fresh, locally-produced food at a fair price.
Jackie Rossignol and Denis Black both come from farming backgrounds: Jackie’s parents were dairy farmers in New England and Denis’s family ranched in northeast New Mexico. They both studied agriculture—Jackie at the University of Connecticut and Denis at the University of New Mexico. When they eventually got together it just seemed inevitable that they would farm together.
A physician by trade, Wayne LeClair began farming in 1990 after attending conferences across the country to learn more about the many health benefits of eating beef raised only on grass. “I was excited to discover so much recent research that uncovered the health advantages of grassfed beef,” Wayne explains. “I serendipitously discovered the Galloway breed and purchased two animals from one of the few breeders in New England at the time. The breed was perfect!” Wayne found the Galloway cattle to be beautiful animals with a mellow personality, and hardy for the New Hampshire winters.
Christy and Patrick Lohof raise 65 Red Angus-based beef cattle near Otter, Montana. The Lohof beef cattle run on 3,000 acres of rolling rangeland at 3,700 feet elevation. While some grasses were seeded in the 1960s, the majority of the grassland is made up of hardy natives that thrive in the temperature and precipitation extremes of eastern Montana, and their cattle, like their pastures, are well-adapted to the landscape.
Larry Pletcher, along with his daughter, Jennifer York, and her husband, Joe York, run Vegetable Ranch LLC, a family farm resting on 125 picturesque acres in the foothills of Mt. Kearsarge in central New Hampshire.
Dede Boies and David Evershed established Root Down Farm in 2013 in the Cloverdale Valley in Pescadero, California. Dede and David’s proposal to raise livestock outdoors on pasture at the 62-acre property owned by the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) was chosen by a panel of local farmers for their shared vision of community-building through sustainable food production. “Our mission is to raise the healthiest animals possible in the most humane way, and to leave this land better than we found it,” Dede explains. Today, they raise AWA-certified meat chickens in 200-bird flocks for marketing within the San Francisco Bay Area and Central Coast region.