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By Animal Welfare Approved
| September 5, 2014
Jeffrey and Mary-Jean Henry raise AWA-certified dairy goats at Cranberry Creek Farm near Cresco in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Their herd is made up of American Alpine dairy goats, a versatile breed which is known for its high milk production and ability to thrive in a variety of climates.
Janet Pesaturo raises Animal Welfare Approved laying hens at One Acre Farm in Bolton, Massachusetts. The small farm sits on one acre of cleared land, just as the name suggests. In addition to being the home for her small flock of laying hens, Janet also grows a variety of fruit, berry, and nut-producing trees, shrubs, and vines, and tends to large vegetable and perennial flower gardens. The chickens range throughout a fenced area where apple trees, blueberry bushes, and hazelnut bushes provide shade and cover. Compost bins are also placed in the chicken yard, under the shade of the apple trees, providing additional fun and forage for the birds.
Michael Smith has worked in many types of agricultural production, including raising pigs, poultry, dairy goats and beef cattle, as well as greenhouse growing, grain crops and honey. In 2001, he was able to purchase his own farm and has been farming full-time since 2005.
A physician by trade, Wayne LeClair began farming in 1990 after attending conferences across the country to learn more about the many health benefits of eating beef raised only on grass. “I was excited to discover so much recent research that uncovered the health advantages of grassfed beef,” Wayne explains. “I serendipitously discovered the Galloway breed and purchased two animals from one of the few breeders in New England at the time. The breed was perfect!” Wayne found the Galloway cattle to be beautiful animals with a mellow personality, and hardy for the New Hampshire winters.
Larry Pletcher, along with his daughter, Jennifer York, and her husband, Joe York, run Vegetable Ranch LLC, a family farm resting on 125 picturesque acres in the foothills of Mt. Kearsarge in central New Hampshire.
Tyler Snider, a third generation family farmer, raises AWA-certified beef cattle at Mountain Foot Farms in Neelyton, Pennsylvania. Tyler’s grandfather raised a small herd of beef cattle on the same property, a farm situated in a valley along the foothills of the Tuscarora Mountain. After purchasing the land in 2009, there was a drastic increase in grain prices, and Tyler found he was struggling to make the business profitable. Hearing more and more about the benefits of pasture-raised beef, he decided to experiment with finishing the cattle on forage, and received excellent customer feedback about the beef. The decision to transition the farm to pasture-based management was simple and he’s been able to grow the business ever since. Today, Mountain Foot Farms is home to 90 cow-calf pairs and 90 steers raised outdoors on pasture according to the highest animal welfare standards in the U.S. and Canada.
Phillip Sherwood-Berndt has farmed cattle since 1996. “I love the animals, growing great grass for them to feed on, and enjoying the milk and beef that they provide,” he says. Phillip and his wife, Missy Bahret, own and operate Cow Belle Farm in Amherst, Massachusetts, where they raise AWA-certified beef cattle. The 40 acres of certified organic pasture grows on rich, sandy loam soils, and comprises rolling hillsides with some large shade trees, a fantastic view of the Holyoke Range, and has been pasture for cattle for many generations.
The couple began sheep farming in 1984 with a foundation flock of Hampshire and Suffolk sheep. In 1997, they grew into a pure bred sheep operation with the purchase of the Stevens Farm, which has been a working farm since the mid-1700s. With its beautiful, sprawling fields and woodlands, the Websters are committed to keeping their 1,000-acre property a working part of the rural landscape, raising around 1,850 AWA-certified Suffolk and Hampshire sheep at any time. The sheep also graze at nearby 625-acre Collyer Brook Farm in New Gloucester, which is protected by Maine Farmland Trust and sits adjacent to the site of the first water powered woolen mill in the U.S., as well as other rented grazing.
Apple Barn Farm sits at the heart of the beautiful Hudson Valley in upstate New York. When Lindsay and Brian Shea purchased the 250-acre property it had been abandoned for 50 years and the orchards were dead and the land needed extensive renovation work. The couple hired Marybeth Boruta as farm manager to help with the transformation of the farm, and they began to make changes. They cleared the orchards, planted 50 acres of hay fields, as well as peach trees and other fruits. Today, the Apple Barn is a popular wedding venue and the farm is home to a small flock of AWA-certified sheep who graze the abundant pastures and new orchards.
Nikolaus Horster first gained experience farming 15 years ago, milking goats and Jersey cows to make cheese and other dairy products for a dairy CSA. Today, Nikolaus raises Animal Welfare Approved beef cattle on his own 40-acre farm at Shire Beef in Vershire, Vermont.