Noel Diesen and Cliff Rankin raise Certified AWA pigs, laying hens, laying ducks and geese outdoors on pasture or range at Rock Spring Hollow Farm in Cumberland City, Tennessee. Both Noel and Cliff grew up without a farming background in Nebraska and Ohio, respectively. However, just a few years ago, after deciding that they wanted to find a place to farm and grow their own food, they found a property online, called the listing agent and saw the farm. Within 45 days, they were farm owners of Rock Spring Hollow Farm! As Noel explained, “The universe said this is what we’re gonna do.”
Farming on 18 acres that grew cotton for centuries, Carey & Natalie Howell manage their land with the aim of revitalizing the soil at Howell Specialty Farmz in Indian Land, South Carolina: “We are actively looking to turn our mistreated land into a viable farm with the goal of creating a more sustainable farming system,” Natalie says. Just three years ago, the Howells started raising chickens. When a local specialty grocer requested their eggs in addition to friends, family and neighbors, they decided to ramp up production. Today, Howell Specialty Farmz raises 80 Certified AWA laying hens outdoors on pasture, supplying fresh eggs to the local community.
Felicity Wilson and Gordon Sweetnam began operating Kelowna Free Graze Lamb in 2014. Kelowna is a happy medium between Edmonton, Alberta, where Gordon grew up, and Felicity’s childhood home on Vancouver Island. As a meat sheep operation with an on-site slaughter plant, Kelowna Free Graze Lamb also combined their talents and interests: Gordon, who has an extensive livestock management background and most recently came from a Certified AWA cattle operation in Alberta, would focus on animal husbandry; while Felicity took responsibility for the farm’s slaughter plant and vegetable production.
Jeromy Biazzo and Margaret Meixner raise Certified AWA sheep at Wolftree Farm in Schuyler County, New York. Wolftree Farm sits in the heart of the state’s Finger Lakes Region on the slopes between the Seneca Lake Wine Trail and Finger Lakes National Forest.
Martez Alston raises Certified AWA pigs at Triple A Ranch and Farm in Warrenton, North Carolina—about 50 miles north of the Raleigh-Durham area. Martez grew up on a family farm and has continued to keep the 54-acre farm up and running. In addition to his Certified AWA pigs, Martez also manages some cattle and cuts hay.
Phillip and Dena Parham raise Certified Grassfed by AGW beef cattle and Certified AWA Large Black Hogs outdoors on pasture at Parham Pharm in Swink, Oklahoma.
Sanford and Debbie Fishel raise Certified AWA pigs at Fishel Organic Farm in Grassy Creek, North Carolina. “I’ve been around farming all my life, and we have farmed on our own for 40 years,” says Sanford. “We currently manage a herd of about 25 Certified AWA pasture-raised hogs, as well as 30 acres of organic vegetables, 35 acres of pumpkins and 300 acres of Christmas trees.”
Eliza Lake and Bart Niswonger, and their two young children, Augustus and Charlotte, raise Certified Grassfed by AGW beef cattle and Certified AWA laying hens at Kinne Brook Farm in Worthington, MA. The farm has been in the Lake family since 1980, and Eliza and Bart bought the 86-acre farm in 2010. The family live in the early 19th-century farmhouse on the property.
Ross Barefoot raises Certified AWA pigs at Ross Barefoot Farm in Dunn, North Carolina. Ross grew up watching, helping and farming alongside his parents and grandparents in North Carolina. On the 100-acre farm in Dunn, Ross grows commodity grain, as well as produce that he sells at the State Farmer’s Market in North Carolina.
Kevin and Delmas Hobbs raise Certified AWA pigs outdoors on pasture at Hobbs Farm in Faison, North Carolina. “I have been farming all my life,” says Kevin. “My family has operated a family farm for many years, and we grow several kinds of produce, wheat, corn and soybeans. Currently, I have three greenhouses being converted to grow hydroponic lettuce, tomatoes and bell pepper. We are excited to begin this new venture with hog farming!”