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.
Jamie Ager raises Certified AWA pigs at Hickory Nut Gap Farm in Fairview, North Carolina. The 90-acre farm has been in the Ager family since 1916, when Jim and Elizabeth McClure, five generations removed from Jamie, went on their honeymoon, fell in love with the land and settled into farming at Hickory Nut Gap Farm. Jamie grew up on the farm, and after meeting his wife, Amy, at Warren Wilson College, the two combined their passion and skills to create a business plan for direct marketing pasture-raised products at Hickory Nut Gap Farm. They put the plan into action in 2000, and have been farming at Hickory Nut Gap Farm ever since.
Cynthia Daley and her team raise Certified AWA dairy cattle at Sweet Grass Organics in Oroville, California. Sweet Grass Organics is a farmstead creamery, nestled in the rolling oak hills of the Sierra Mountains. The unique microclimate allows for year-round grazing, with pasture grasses and forages throughout the summer and fall, followed by native cool season grasses, forbs and clovers during the winter and spring months.
Paul Sozansky, his wife, Juliana, and daughter, Katie, raise Certified AWA pigs at Eagle Point Farms in Rogers, Arkansas. Growing up, both of Paul’s grandfathers were farmers, and his parents were avid gardeners. The Sozanskys began raising pigs in 2014, after they were introduced to the AWA program by another farmer in the area. “I have a caretaker’s DNA and enjoy raising pigs. It’s very new and exciting, and we’re still in the process of learning,” says Paul. “So far the best teachers have been the pigs!”
Jim Kunetz and his family raise Certified AWA and Certified Grassfed by AGW sheep and beef cattle, and Certified AWA pigs and laying hens at Greene Jungle Farm, located in the rolling hills of Ridgefield in southwest Washington.
Jill Merkel raises Certified AWA dairy and meat sheep at Hestholl Icelandics in Richmond, Vermont. The farm consists of around 100 acres of pasture and woodland in the Winooski River Valley of the Green Mountains region, near Burlington and Montpelier.