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By Animal Welfare Approved
| November 14, 2014
Glenn and Mary Jane Phifer raise Certified AWA cattle and goats on SteelMeadow Farm in Mansfield, Missouri. Glenn and Mary Jane did not grow up on farms, but when they approached farming over 10 years ago as a way to become more self-reliant, they drew heavily from the tried-and-true knowledge of their forbearers. They decided to pursue AWA certification because they felt the certification process would help optimize their practices, and they appreciated that AWA’s farm standards already reflected the high standard of their own animal husbandry practices.
By Animal Welfare Approved
| September 8, 2014
Ron and Suzanne Klein raise AWA-certified dairy goats on pasture at Windshadow Farm & Dairy in Bangor, Michigan. The picturesque 45-acre farm is surrounded by four organic farms to the south and west, and is home to around 150 AWA-certified dairy goats.
Kaci and Dino Fazio raise AWA laying hens on pasture at Cloud Nine Farms in Crete, Illinois. Research shows that pasture-raised eggs contain three times as much vitamin E, seven times more beta-carotene, and twice the amount of Omega 3 fatty acids as industrially produced eggs. AWA is the only label that requires pasture access for all animals and all AWA standards, policies and procedures are available on this website, making our program one of the most transparent and trustworthy certifications available.
Deanna and Ed Hurley raise AWA beef cattle on pasture at Hurley Farms in Ash Grove, Missouri. Deanna is the farm manager at Shire Gate Farm, and Hurley Farms is a trusted supplier of high-quality grassfed cattle to the Shire Gate Beef brand. After a number of years working with horses and ranching, Deanna became the manager for Shire Gate Farms in 2007, taking on full responsibility for all aspects of the farm and its development. One of the greatest perks has been being able to spend more time with her three young boys: “This is an amazing opportunity for them to learn firsthand what it takes to run a successful farm,” says Deanna.
Doug and Krista Dittman raise AWA beef and dairy cattle on pasture at Branched Oak Farm in Raymond, Nebraska, about 15 miles north of Lincoln. The Dittmans manage their 240-acre farm with the help of their sons, Nelson and Andreas. “We’re committed to preserving the land and creating farmstead products that are healthy and wholesome, free of chemicals, antibiotics, or hormones,” says Doug. “We take pride in knowing that our products are made with sustainable, certified organic and Animal Welfare Approved certified methods.”
Although Bill and Deb Robinson were both city-raised, Bills exposure to livestock as young child planted seeds for their dream to own a small farm and raise animals. In 2004, their decision to purchase some land finally gave them the opportunity to raise cattle on pasture as they had always envisioned. When a friend suggested they should look into AWA certification for their cattle herd, Bill and Deb quickly recognized that AWA standards aligned with their own objectives for the farm. “Our goal is to provide a good environment and have our cows well fed, well treated, healthy and calm,” says Bill. “Our potential clients recognize that we do what we say we do by having AWA certification.”
Vince and Nancy Pope raise AWA-certified sheep on a centennial family farm in the southern driftless region of Wisconsin. Vince was raised on a dairy farm and worked as a livestock nutrition specialist, and Nancy is a practicing veterinarian. Their skillsets are strong assets in their commitment to pasture-based management of their flock. “Essentially, we have a nutritionist and veterinarian on staff,” Nancy explains. Their combined skills allow Vince and Nancy to identify potential problems in the flock early, and make adjustments or provide treatment as needed.
Circle B Ranch is nestled in the gently rolling hills and woodlands of the southwest Missouri Ozarks. The 90-acre farm is conveniently located in the town of Seymour, just 32 miles east of Springfield. “At Circle B Ranch, we raise hogs the old-fashioned way: outside on the pasture, where the hogs can run and exercise,” farmers John and Marina Backes proudly explain. “It’s the way nature intended.”
Ben Gotschall’s great-grandparents began raising commercial Hereford and Angus cattle in 1936 in Holt County, Nebraska. The ranch was eventually passed to his father and Ben was born and raised on land his family had been farming for three generations. When Ben was 10 years old, he started helping with milking and immediately fell in love with Belle, the only Jersey in his father’s herd of Holsteins. “She stood out to me as the little brown cow who was quite capable of holding her own with her bigger black and white herdmates,” Ben remembers. After a year of milking, his father let him choose one calf to care for and start his own herd and, of course, he chose Belle’s first calf. A year later, Ben used the money he’d saved from milking to buy her second calf and, through the American Jersey Cattle Association’s Genetic Recovery program, soon had a small herd of registered Jersey cattle. In 1997, as a high school senior, Ben had the top-performing Jersey herd in the state of Nebraska for milk and protein production, with just 14 cows.
Hamid Markazi raises Certified AWA beef cattle on pasture at D Central Farms in Woodstock, Illinois. Although Hamid’s family owned a farm when he was growing up, he gained limited hands-on experience with farming, and chose a career in geology and environmental engineering. It wasn’t until later on in his life that Hamid and his wife decided to purchase some land in McHenry County, IL, and build a house and a barn. The Markazis maintained a couple of pastures for their daughters to keep and ride their horses, and decided to introduce some other farm animals to develop their farming experience. “As the kids moved on to college, we began to focus on expanding our farming business,” says Hamid.