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.
One of the first things Liann Finnerty and Dan Long did when they bought five acres of land in Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington in 2011 was to buy a small flock of laying hens. Although Dan had raised chickens before, it was Liann’s first experience of raising animals for food. But those few birds proved to be the start of a new farm business: Today, Dan and Liann manage 100 Certified AWA laying hens at Wide Sky Farm on four acres of pasture overlooking Puget Sound.
Stephanie O’Brien began farming three years ago when she decided that raising goats would be a great thing to do after her husband, Kevin, retired. After purchasing her first goats, Stephanie told Kevin she “couldn’t believe she’d gone 50 years without goats in her life.” Since then, Stephanie has taken classes in goat production and learned about farming and pasture-based production on S and K Farm’s 28 acres of woodland and pasture in Melrose, Florida.
Nate and Janya Veranth’s journey to becoming farmers didn’t start until 2007. They were living and going to school in Seattle and wanted open space for their three adopted border collies. After much searching, the couple finally found an old forest property on 40 acres in Duvall, 25 miles northeast of Seattle. After moving to the property in 2007, Nate and Janya spent the next five years building infrastructure before they began adding livestock to the farm they named Redfeather.
Bud Stone raises Certified AWA beef cattle at Stone Spirit Farm in Benson, Vermont. The cattle roam 500 acres of species-rich pasture, eating grass and hay, and drinking clear mountain spring water directly from the farm’s own springs. The hardy cattle are managed outdoors on the well-maintained pasture and woodland year-round.
Lawrence Hollings believes the health of his soil is connected to the nutrition of his pastures and ultimately influences the health of his cattle—and the nutritional quality of the meat they produce.
Hilly and partially forested, Hanchett Farm is a 300-acre farm on the island of Kauai, where Keoa Hanchett’s pasture-raised chickens have plenty of room to roam, forage, and produce his sought after Certified AWA chicken eggs.
In 2011, Rebecca Wellman and Michael Kelly moved to Trout Lake, Washington, to farm land Rebecca’s family purchased in 2004. Located near the Columbia River Gorge, Sunnybrook Farm’s 44 acres is nestled among some of the most breathtaking mountains in the country, and is a beautiful mix of fields and forest, watered by irrigation ditches channeling glacial water from nearby Mount Adams.
After 22 years working in the high-tech industry in California’s Silicon Valley, Alison Charter-Smith wanted to do something truly worthwhile. She had already bought 97 acres of land near the mountain town of Felton, about six miles north of Santa Cruz, California, with her husband, Tony Jaehnichen. In 2010, she quit her job and began farming full time, establishing a flock of pasture-raised laying hens, which she housed in the big chicken coop that already existed on the property. In 2011, Tony sold his business and joined Alison on the farm. Alison and Tony named the farm Madrone Coast Farm, after the madrone trees that populate much of their land, along with redwoods, oak and maples. Their goal was to contribute to their community by producing great food.
In 1987, the three Hamill brothers inherited almost 500 acres of undeveloped farm land in the Lawrenceville/Princeton area of New Jersey. Their ancestors had been farming here since before the Revolutionary War, and this particular parcel had been in the family since 1902. Conservation and locally-grown food are passions of the Hamill family, so the brothers planned to regenerate their land by embracing organic farming methods and using traditional pastoral techniques as a guide such as rotational grazing and multi-flock grazing.