Jamie and Jacqueline Baggett, along with their son, Jeremiah, and daughter, Isabella, raise Certified AWA pigs at Baggett Family Farm in Godwin, North Carolina. As a fourth generation farmer, Jamie grew up in a farming family, while Jacqueline, originally from Fayetteville, took up an interest in farming after meeting Jamie. The Baggetts are proud to grow corn and soybeans and raise Certified AWA pigs on land that has been passed down from Jamie’s grandfather.
Both Molly and Mike Peterson grew up in rural Illinois. Mike comes from a family with a long history of farming, and both recall vivid childhood memories around farming and agriculture. In 2008, they made their way to Virginia, where Mike was working as a cook and butcher at The Inn at Little Washington. “Mike was passing this pasture-based farm every day on his way into work, and he was also getting a little tired of the cook thing,” says Molly. “He was looking for something different, so he started interning at this farm and, pretty soon, started managing the farm.” Molly, a professional photographer, loved the scenery on the farm, the daily connection she had with the animals and being able to work side by side with Mike on a daily basis. In 2013, they bought the farm business and started a long-term lease—and have grown the business ever since. They now rent around 850 acres across five different farms, where they raise grassfed sheep.
Ben and Jennifer Rosecrans raise Certified AWA laying hens and pigs at Crossings Farm in Lexington, North Carolina. The Rosecrans family lives and farms land that has been in Jennifer’s family for more than 200 years. According to Jennifer, “At Crossings Farm, we look to produce healthy food while preserving the land that my family has cherished for so many years.”
Shawn Ueda has had a love for growing things for as long as he can remember. Unfortunately, he wasn’t raised to believe farming was a viable career option, and it wasn’t until his retirement years that he finally decided to take agriculture more seriously. By this time, his home garden and backyard chicken operation had become sizeable, so he decided to start selling excess to his local community and through farmers’ markets. Shawn also regularly donates his produce and eggs to the local food pantry: “Those in need should not have to live on poor quality produce,” he says. “We want everyone to share in our bounty of pesticide-free and nutritionally-dense eggs and vegetables.”
Dru Yeager raises Certified AWA laying ducks outdoors on pasture in Powderhorn, Colorado. The farm consists of 50 acres of range located in a canyon, about 40 miles from Gunnison and Lake City. The property features ideal habitat for her ducks and includes a running water source: “We’re surrounded by mountains here!” says Dru. “I love watching the ducks swim around in the pond, acting out their natural behaviors. They’re very smart, too, and herd themselves into the coop at night.”
Dan and Asunta Presson raise Certified AWA laying hens on 15 acres in the foot hills of the Sierra Mountains in Marysville, CA, with 10 acres of open grassland and 5 acres of woodlot. The Pressons have been farming for the past five years and found they have a particular affinity for raising chickens outdoors on pasture.
Nathan W. Drager raises Certified Grassfed by AGW beef cattle at Drager Farms, LLC in Marietta, Pennsylvania. Nathan grew up on a 200-acre conventional dairy farm in the same area and he now farms on 50 acres purchased from his family. Being immersed in farming culture all of his life, it was no surprise he decided to return to his roots after a brief stint in carpentry work after high school: “I don’t see farming as a job,” he says. “It’s a joy to raise cattle.”
Rosemary Ishkanian raises Certified AWA laying ducks and geese at Willow Wood Farm on the Saanich peninsula of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Farming has been a part of Rosemary’s life from a very early age, growing up in a rich agricultural area of Scotland. For the past few years, she has lived on a historical 10.5-acre property near Saanichton with a long homesteading heritage.
Doug and Susan Schlosnagle, along with their daughter, Chelsey, and son, Jared, raise Certified AWA beef cattle at Dutch Creek Farm in Pleasureville, Kentucky. Doug and Susan have spent their entire lives as cattle breeders, and Chelsey and Jared are sixth generation family farmers. Chelsey graduated from the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture with a degree in Sustainable Agriculture, while Jared graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a degree in Agribusiness Management (and an emphasis in entrepreneurship). Both Chelsey and Jared are now farming full time with Doug and Susan, who have farmed at Dutch Creek Farm since 1981. The Schlosnagle family is committed to high-welfare, sustainable farm management practices that benefit the health of animals, humans and the environment.
Holly Whitesides and Andy Bryant are first generation famers raising Certified AWA laying hens, meat chickens, pigs, meat goats and beef cattle at Against the Grain Farm in Zionville, North Carolina. Holly became interested in farming in college, where she was inspired to become actively involved in doing something about the state of the food system. Andy and Holly gained farm experience individually before farming together for seven years. In 2012, they purchased the initial 18 acres of Against the Grain Farm. Over the years, they gradually increased their acreage and are now farming 35 acres. “It’s a typical mountain farm,” Holly explains. “The land is diverse, with some flat, tillable land along with mixed pasture and woods of varying degrees of slope and steepness.” Andy and Holly are joined on the farm by their 2-year-old daughter Beatrice, along with several farm interns.