While he was in school, Les Yates spent many enjoyable summers helping his grandparents on their farm in southwest Ontario, and subsequently spent most of his working career trying to figure out how to get back to the land. In 1993, Les and his wife, Chris, were finally able to purchase 327-acre Lemieux Creek Ranch in the Bulkley Valley in northwest British Columbia, named after Eric Lemieux, the first French Canadian to settle on the land in 1904.
Although Hannah Sessions and Greg Bernhardt did not grow up in farming families, they were always drawn to the agrarian lifestyle because they enjoy physical labor and working with their hands. Also, “we felt like farming would also allow us more time together and with our kids,” explains Hannah. “It has turned out to be all of those things–and more.”
Daniel and Patrick McDougall’s ancestors first settled in western Nevada in the 1860s after leaving the South during the Civil War, selling cattle to the Union Army and silver miners at the Comstock Lode—the first major discovery of silver ore in the country. Today, Daniel and Patrick continue their family’s ranching tradition as fourth generation cattle ranchers, headquartered in Fallon, Nevada.
Wayne Walton raises Certified AWA pigs at Greenpond Farm in Lewiston, North Carolina. The hogs at Greenpond Farm have constant access to outdoor pasture or range throughout their lives.
Michaelene and J. Michael Griffin run Primetime Farms in Pahrump, Nevada, about 60 miles west of Las Vegas on the California-Nevada border. When they bought the property 20 years ago, they began raising thoroughbred race horses and warmblood sport horses, but expanded to other livestock after taking a course on biodynamic gardening that included the integration of animals. Now, in addition to vegetable production, Primetime Farms’ 10 acres is home to Certified AWA laying hens, meat chickens, and geese.
Allen Raynor, along with his daughter, Christy, and son, Buddy, raises Certified AWA pigs at DAR Farms in Duplin County, North Carolina. “I started growing hogs when I was 13 years old, so I’ve been raising hogs for 45 years,” says Allen. The Raynors raise hogs on four parcels of land that include a combination of cleared and woodland areas, several miles outside of Wallace.
Alfred and Ginger Tanagho raise Certified Grassfed by AWA beef cattle at Waypoint Farm in Hallettsville, Texas. The cattle are managed outdoors on pasture or range and fed a 100% grass and forage diet for their entire lives. Alfred and Ginger market the high-quality, grassfed beef locally under the Cross T Brand.
Mallory Mort grew up on a small farm in Pennsylvania and later studied animal production at Penn State University. Upon graduating, Mallory worked in the horse program at his alma mater. A few years later, as someone with experience raising both cattle and horses, Mallory was offered a position at Gallagher’s Stud in 1979–and has continued working there ever since. Today, he raises Certified Grassfed by AWA beef cattle on 550 acres of pasture at Gallagher’s Stud in Ghent, New York, with the help of Marlene Brody, friend and farm owner.
For over a century, Jennings Outlaw’s family has farmed at Jennings Outlaw Farm in Mount Olive, North Carolina. Jennings grew up on the farm and remembers the tobacco, crops, hogs, and cattle managed there during his childhood. Today, the 200-acre farm, which is evenly divided between farmland and woodland, is used to produce a variety of crops such as corn, beans, wheat, rye, cucumbers, and fresh market grapes from the farm’s ten acre vineyard. With the help of his son, Daniel, Jennings also manages a herd of Certified AWA pigs outdoors on pasture.
Ethan Johnson raises Certified AWA pigs at SF Farms in Clarkton, North Carolina. SF Farms utilizes pasture-based farming systems, ensuring the hogs have constant access to outdoor range throughout their lives. The herd of pigs at SF Farms have room to roam and demonstrate their instinctual behaviors such as rooting and foraging. This high-welfare management outdoors on pasture or range is a fundamental component of AWA certification. Research shows this type of management results in better animal health, environmental health, and human health, and also produces delicious pork—much adored by Ethan’s customers!