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Belinda and David Gutierrez manage Local Yolk, a pasture-raised laying hen operation, at Pilot Creek Ranch, a 970-acre property in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Belinda and David returned to the ranch, which has been in David’s family since the late 1800s, in 2006 and began raising laying hens on the family’s property in 2013. They raise 500 AWA-certified Black Austrolorp ,Ameraucana, and Rhode Island Red laying hens outdoors on pasture.
By Animal Welfare Approved
| December 12, 2013
What began in 1984 as an endeavor to provide milk for their own family has grown into a thriving dairy goat operation for Will and Deb Dillon of Salal Ridge Dairy Goat Farm. As the saying goes, they couldn’t have done it without a little help from friends and a little life experience living and working on a dairy farm to learn the ropes of animal husbandry.
By Animal Welfare Approved
| November 26, 2013
Teresa and John M. Penhall both have a long history with farming and their four children are fourth generation farmers in the Klamath Basin, Oregon. Teresa’s grandfather, Joseph Meeker, and his wife, Dorothy, established Meeker Dairy in the early 1900s, which has been producing milk, turkeys, hay, potatoes, grain and beef for over 100 years. John’s family raised hay and beef in Eagle Point, about 70 miles west of Klamath Falls where the family farms today. While both John and Teresa have been involved in agriculture their entire lives, their interest turned toward sustainable production methods in 1999. Now the 55-acre Penhall Farm—known as Food 4 Life—is home to a herd of sustainably managed Animal Welfare Approved Angus beef cattle and laying hens.
By Animal Welfare Approved
| November 15, 2013
Jonette Walter has owned and loved chickens since she was a little girl. “They just make me happy!” she explains. Jonette’s 40-acre farm, Happy Nevada County Chickens, lies in the rolling foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Smartsville, California. She currently raises 38 AWA-certified laying hens of various breeds. The most important aspect of her animal husbandry practices is attention to the health and happiness of her hens, providing access to fresh pasture to scratch, peck, dust bathe and forage for insects and seeds during the day and the safety of a hen house at night. Raising chickens outdoors on pasture not only ensures better health for her hens, but also produces healthier eggs containing three times as much vitamin E, seven times more beta-carotene, and twice the omega-3 fatty acids as industrial eggs.
Katie and Jim Haack raise a small herd of Belted Kingshire cattle, a miniature beef breed, in the lush Snoqualmie River Valley, 30 miles east of Seattle, Washington. Jim grew up spending summers tending cattle and horses on his grandfather’s small farm in central Missouri, but it wasn’t until 2000 that the couple abandoned the suburbs of the Pacific Northwest for a 75-acre farm in Carnation, Washington, a community with a long history of dairy farming, named after Carnation Milk.
Shamrock Artisan Goat Cheese has its origins in a 4-H project that Ana Cox’s daughter began more than 40 years ago in California’s Monterey County. By the time Ana married her husband, Gilbert Cox, in 1983, the project had grown into a small business, shipping goat milk to San Luis Obispo County at a low wholesale price for processing. Although Gilbert had no experience with goats or farming, he was a natural and the couple continued to grow the business. They soon came to the conclusion, however, that purchasing hay, producing milk, then selling it cheaply and shipping it away made little sense, and began looking for a place where they could control their entire operation and add value to their milk.
Gigi Meyer grew up in Portland, Oregon, but learned to ride horseback and sort cattle when her father bought a cattle ranch in eastern Oregon when she was 10. After years working in New York City as a journalist and artist, with nothing more than a window box of herbs, Gigi spent eight months living and working in Siena, Italy, as the caretaker of a villa where she tended a huge garden and cared for chickens and ducks. This amazing opportunity made her realize that she couldn’t return to a city—she needed to create a life for herself somewhere in between the wilderness she had known in the high desert of eastern Oregon and the hectic culture of an urban environment. Gigi returned to Oregon, settling in Bend, and began training horses and scheming her return to farm life.
Mike and Elizabeth Lofrano run the 211-acre Circle Star Ranch, nestled in a secluded valley just south of Roseburg, Oregon. Elizabeth’s farming expertise originates from her childhood, when she raised sheep, pigs, beef and dairy cattle, chickens and rabbits on a 180-acre ranch in southern Oregon. Having lived through the Great Depression, Elizabeth’s grandparents taught her to be self-sufficient and she has carried on this tradition at Circle Star Ranch, where the Lofranos produce the majority of the products they consume.
Lone Fir Friesians Ranch has been in Inga Thompson’s family since 1918, making her son, Tyler Newberry, the fourth generation rancher to live and work on their land. The 160-acre ranch borders the Wallowa National Forest in northeast Oregon. Inga and Tyler’s small operation includes 15 Black Angus cross momma cows, which they raise according to AWA’s high welfare standards and Friesian horses, which they use both in harness and under saddle.