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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.”
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.
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.
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!
Martha Mobley raises Certified AWA beef cattle and meat sheep at Meadow Lane Beef, LLC, in Louisburg, North Carolina. Situated among the rolling pastures of Franklin County, Meadow Lane Beef has been a working farm since 1919.
By Animal Welfare Approved
| February 25, 2015
Angela TenBroeck and Richard Blaudow raise Certified AWA laying hens at Traders Hill Farms in Hilliard, Florida. The laying hens at Traders Hill Farms have constant access to pasture or range with plenty of room to perform natural behaviors like running, foraging, pecking, dust bathing, and scratching for grubs and seeds under the Florida sunshine. Not only is pasture management far better for animal welfare but it is also less likely to cause environmental degradation–and results in better tasting, more nutritious eggs, too! Research shows pasture-raised eggs have more beta carotene and higher levels of beneficial conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3 fatty acids when compared to conventional eggs.
Howard Schmidt moved to Saint Stephens Church, Virginia, to escape city life in Richmond and have an opportunity to do what he enjoys—farming. Located on 20 acres, Schmidt Farm is surrounded by Virginia’s beautiful meandering creeks and woodlands. Howard began farming by raising goats and miniature horses, but started to manage pigs several years ago. “I happened upon some hogs from my neighbor,” he explains, “and got interested in traditional breeds from there.”
By Animal Welfare Approved
| February 13, 2015
Sharon Funderburk was born and raised on a dairy farm in Union County, North Carolina. She grew up helping her grandfather milk cows, plant fields, and harvest produce. “By the time I went to college,” Sharon says, “I wanted to study something completely apart from agriculture.” After studying cultural anthropology, Sharon took some time off to work on a farm before pursuing a Master of Science in horticulture at North Carolina State University. Sharon then worked for 15 years as a consultant, offering agronomic services to farmers before the opportunity arose for her to work in corporate organics management. In 2010, feeling the pull to return to her roots on the farm, Sharon purchased 50 acres of woodlands and pasture in Turkey, NC, which would become Beartrack Farm. Sharon has been farming full time at Beartrack Farm since June 2013, and raises Certified AWA beef cattle, sheep, laying hens, and pigs. She has added a greenhouse, barn, grain bins, and a home for her to live in, all the while paying special attention to developing habitats and systems that promote the health and well-being of the animals—both farmed and wild.
In 2009, after his construction job came to an end, James Taylor decided to make use of his grandfather’s former horse farm to become a first-generation organic produce farmer, and established Jacar Produce, a 150-acre farm located in Clayton, North Carolina.