Animal Welfare Approved

Family Farms

West Mountain Farm — Winslow, AR

By Animal Welfare Approved | December 11, 2014

Arianna and Eric Gaesswitz raise Certified AWA pigs and laying hens on pasture at West Mountain Farm in Winslow, Arkansas. West Mountain Farm utilizes pasture-based farming systems to ensure their animals have constant access to pasture or range throughout their lives. The herd of pigs and flock of laying hens have room to roam and demonstrate their instinctual behaviors. Research shows this type of management results in better animal health, environmental health, and human health—as well as tastier eggs and meat!

Blue Pepper Farm – Jay, NY

By Animal Welfare Approved | December 10, 2014

Shannon Eaton discovered her love for raising sheep as a farm apprentice in Royalton, Vermont, back in 2009. After moving to Jay, New York, Shannon introduced herself to Rhonda Butler at Asgaard Farm, a Certified AWA goat dairy, and over the course of four years, worked her way up to goatherd manager. She learned a lot about best management practices for raising happy and healthy ruminants,
Today, Shannon raises her own flock of sheep at Blue Pepper Farm in Jay, NY, with her husband, Tyler, an environmental science teacher at Northwood School in Lake Placid, and their two young sons, Wyatt and Shepherd. Tyler and Shannon bought their 46-acre farm in 2011. Their property lies on the edge of the Adirondack high peaks, where farmland meets the mountains. The small flock of Katahdin breeding ewes is frequently moved to new grass growth throughout the season, ensuring they have access to the most nutritious pasture and avoiding overgrazing, preventing the build-up of potential diseases and internal parasites, and maximizing the animals’ natural health and immunity. “We are extremely careful about how long the pasture rests before being grazed again to ensure that our sheep and our pastures stay healthy,” Shannon explains. “We also never feed grain to our sheep, which is a benefit to pasture-based management. Everything we need grows right in our fields, and then the animals help to put those nutrients right back into the fields.”

Lazy Lady Farm – Westfield, VT

By Animal Welfare Approved | December 8, 2014

Laini Fondiller, owner of Lazy Lady Farm in Westfield, Vermont, is anything but lazy. A self-proclaimed workaholic, Laini has been farming since she was 22 years old. After meeting a farmer in Indiana, she left her last year of college and changed her course to pursue farming as her career. “It was like an epiphany,” Laini says. “It changed my life and I knew I couldn’t do anything else after that.”

Loeffler Farms – Grants, NM

By Animal Welfare Approved | December 4, 2014

Chris Loeffler is having a very active retirement: After 26 years as a public school teacher in California and New Mexico, she started a second career as a farmer in the spring of 2014. The 56-acre plot that she and her husband own in Grants, New Mexico, is too dry for crops and too small for many cattle, so she decided to raise chickens.

Long Dream Farm – Lincoln, CA

By Animal Welfare Approved |

After years of research and planning, Andrew and Krista Abrahams and their four children finally took the plunge and moved from the East Coast in 2011 to establish a farm. They settled in Lincoln, California, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains on a 90-acre property made up of rolling hills, oak and pine trees, and a pristine creek, and named their family venture Long Dream Farm.

Hammock Farm — Brooksville, FL

By Animal Welfare Approved |

Although Jean White didn’t grow up farming, she always kept gardens, horses, and livestock for her family’s use. In 2007, however, Jean focused on her longtime interest and began farming at Hammock Farm so that she could sell to the public. Comprising of seven acres of forest and 15 acres of pasture, Hammock Farm is located in Brooksville, Florida–once a leading area of citrus production in the state. The rolling landscape, good soil, moderate rainfall, and almost year-round growing conditions make it an ideal setting for raising animals out on pasture.

SamNana Heritage Farm — Sinks Grove, WV

By Animal Welfare Approved |

Since 1855, Debbie Christie Gentry’s family has farmed in Sinks Grove, West Virginia. Debbie’s father, Jim Christie, started a dairy on the very same land as a 16 year-old boy, and turned it into a lifelong endeavor. When Debbie was young, she shadowed her father and her mother, Pat, during farm chores because, “it’s just the way you grow up and what you do,” she says. By the time Debbie was 13 years old, her interest and love of farming was engrained. While attending Warren Wilson College, a work study college that encouraged further agricultural learning, she met her husband, Tom, and the two returned to West Virginia where Debbie became a sixth generation family farmer at SamNana Heritage Farm.

Sirianni Farms – Elk, WA

By Animal Welfare Approved | November 21, 2014

Whereas Jeanette Sirianni grew up on a 240-acre ranch south of Cheney, Washington, and began raising sheep and goats when she was just 14, Warren, her husband, was, in Jeanette’s words, “a city-boy.” It took some convincing after they met one another to bring him out to Elk in 2010 where the couple established Sirianni Farms. The 65-acre farm, just 20 miles west of the Idaho border, is now home to Certified AWA meat goats, sheep, and laying hens.

The Farm of Milk and Honey – Washington, VT

By Animal Welfare Approved |

After several years of working a “regular” job, Ryan Hayes realized how much he missed the connection with the land, the seasons, and animals that he had as a child growing up on a family farm. So he and his wife, Susan, and son, Milo, made the move to expand their homestead to a small farm. They now lease a beautiful hill farm in central Vermont where they raise a herd of Certified AWA dairy cattle. Ryan is also an avid beekeeper, so the Farm of Milk and Honey was born!

Freedom Run Farm — Shelbyville, KY

By Animal Welfare Approved | November 14, 2014

Valerie Samutin and her family raise Certified AWA laying hens, beef cattle, and sheep at Freedom Run Farm in Shelbyville, Kentucky. Their love of good food and desire for a change in lifestyle prompted their move from Chicago, and solidified their decision to begin farming.

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