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Randy Cruz raises AWA-certified laying hens at Cruz Ranch in the small community of Sapello, about 15 miles north of Las Vegas, New Mexico. Chickens raised according to the AWA standards are given continual access to pasture or range to forage for insects and seeds, and have the opportunity to perform natural and instinctive behaviors essential to their health and well-being, such as scratching, pecking, and dust bathing. Scientific 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 industrial eggs.
For several generations, Veronica Serna’s mother’s family raised fruits and vegetables, pigs, dairy cattle and laying hens in Buena Vista, northern New Mexico, making enough to support themselves on farming alone. Over 60 years ago, however, they stopped farming on a large scale when some of her uncles were drafted into the military, leaving behind a few siblings, including her mother, who ended up marrying and leaving the farm for better opportunities. Soon after Veronica’s parents met, they moved to Colorado and then Wyoming, and eventually moved back to northern New Mexico in 1971. Unfortunately, by then the family’s larger acreage had been sold off piece by piece when times were tough, but her parents wanted to return to farming nonetheless. While her father stayed away during the week to work, the rest of the family remained at home to tend to a small herd of cattle and to continue their education.
By Animal Welfare Approved
| December 20, 2013
Jenny Brizal farms five acres in Buena Vista, a small community in the Mora County, New Mexico, which she calls Grandioso Organics LLC. She inherited the land from her father, Juan Brizal, who acquired it from his father, Emilio Brizal, before him. Jenny credits her father with her commitment to continuing the family tradition of small-scale farming and to caring for her land and animals in the traditional way. Although five acres may not sound grandiose, as the farm’s Spanish name indicates, she can produce a surprising amount of food from her family’s land. Today, her mother, Hendrey Martinez, is the farm’s official egg collector.
Roger Gonzales, along with his mother, Carol Romero, and his sister, Cleo Gonzales, run Rancho Carmelo Organic Farms, LLC, a family farm resting on 67 picturesque acres on the eastern slope of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range in northern New Mexico. The farm overlooks the valleys of El Carmen and La Aguitas, two of the 17 rural village communities located in Mora County, New Mexico.
By Animal Welfare Approved
| December 12, 2013
Sari Clark has fond memories of the years her family spent on a small dairy in Minnesota—she loved the chickens, cows and draft horses. Now, she raises AWA-certified laying hens on her own small farm which she calls Joy in the Morning, which sits on 26 acres in Ramah, New Mexico, in the foothills of the Zuni Mountains. Her land is adjacent to El Morro National Monument, or Inscription Rock, where ancestral Puebloans, Spanish and American travelers carved signatures, dates, messages, and petroglyphs over hundreds of years on the rocks surrounding a reliable waterhole hidden at the base of a sandstone bluff. Sari’s property is mixed Juniper, Piñon and Pine forest and mostly sand mixed with occasional ridges of limestone rock and she uses one acre of the property to raise chickens on pasture for eggs.
Cynthia and Ira Houseweart have deep roots in Colorado cattle ranching. Cynthia’s great-grandfather, Edward Ulysses Butterfield, and his brother, Charles, were successful ranchers in the late 19th and early 20th century in Phillips County, and controlled many sections of the Colorado prairie. In 1913, Ira’s great-grandparents, Oran Charles and Mable Houseweart, acquired land to farm on Rogers Mesa in Delta County. Cynthia and Ira and their two daughters, Izzi and CeCe, live on the Houseweart Ranch as do Ira’s parents, Bill and Betty, and his brother, Cody, and his family. Izzi and CeCe are the fifth generation of Houseweart cattle ranchers.
Joseph Griego was raised on a family farm where he participated in everything from collecting eggs, milking the cow, and making cheese and butter, to butchering animals on the farm. Since 2008, he and his wife, Ruth Ann, have been homesteading once again with their four boys, Castillo, Ronald, Joseph Paul, and Dakota Joe, raising livestock and crops at Ranchito Organic Farm in Mora, New Mexico. This homestead is different than the family farm where Joseph was raised because Joseph and Ruth Ann are using only holistic and organic practices.
By Animal Welfare Approved
| September 23, 2013
For the past 30 years, Duncan and Susan Blair have been in the business of raising cattle everywhere from Wickenburg, Arizona and Santa Barbara County, California to La Pampa Province in Argentina. Since 2006, however, they have focused on producing grass-finished beef in the tradition of Argentina in Santa Cruz County, Arizona, where they hold grazing permits to 11,508 acres of the Coronado National Forest along the international border with Mexico.
Alton Wallace raises Animal Welfare Approved pigs in southeast North Carolina. He is the latest member of a multigenerational family tradition of raising hogs outdoors: “My parents had hogs growing up, and my whole life we had hogs. It’s very natural to me.” Alton and his wife now own 21 acres of pasture and woods, where they raise four sows and up to 40 market pigs at any given time.
As a child, Greg Baker spent a lot of time with his grandfather, who seemed to have every type of plant and animal that Greg could imagine. It was an interest that rubbed off: after spending most of his adult life in town, Greg finally bought one acre in the Texas Panhandle in 2003. He established an orchard and garden immediately and, by the time he met his wife, Penny, in 2009, he was already planning to add chickens to his operation. The couple decided to call their small farm Honey’s Farm Fresh, both Greg’s nickname for Penny, and his mother’s name for him as a golden-haired child.