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.”
Brothers on Farms is a family operation named after brothers Andrei and Dmitry Ward, who came to the U.S. at the age of 2 and 3 from Moscow, Russia. Their mother, Susan Ward, was dedicated to raising her sons in a farming environment with good food and surrounded by animals. At the ages of 11 and 12, the boys decided they wanted to give back to the farm, initially cultivating oyster and shiitake mushrooms for sale at local markets. The family has now expanded into producing AWA lamb, and is planning to expand this operation even further.
Edward Taylor raises AWA laying hens on a diversified farm located between Mount Yonah and the Chattahoochee River in Georgia. Indian Ridge farmland rests on ground that has historical and cultural importance for the Cherokee nation, and each year the Taylors host a celebration of this land for the Cherokee community.
By Andrew Gunther
| December 27, 2013
As the year comes to an end it’s become a tradition of mine to write a note of gratitude to Big Ag for the many “gifts” they’ve given us all throughout the year. Gifts that we didn’t really want, need or — in some cases — didn’t even know about. Here’s my top 10 for 2013. It’s just a shame they didn’t include a gift receipt…
Bill and Lee Barker moved to Polk County, North Carolina, in 2007, where they began to develop their nine-acre family farm. The Barkers raise AWA-certified goats and laying hens, as well as growing a range of fresh vegetables, herbs and flowers for sale to their local community.
Sandra Sorensen manages AWA pigs at Sorensen Farm—40 acres of mixed pasture and woodland, situated about 10 miles east of Benton, Illinois. After working in the industry for decades, she eventually became disheartened: “I had always been concerned with the plight of meat animals,” she says. “I could not become a vegetarian, so I decided that I would make sure the animals that I raised would have humane treatment.” What started out a small venture has blossomed: “I now sell pasture-raised pork at local farmer’s market and directly from the farm.”
We can be pretty certain that in the coming days we will hear this message over and over again “So what if most of the meat on our supermarket shelves is contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria? If you handle and cook your meat properly then a few bacteria shouldn’t be a problem; and if you get sick with an untreatable disease then it’s your own fault.’
This is the kind of contemptible retort we can expect from the intensive meat industry lobby and its many trolls in response to new research by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which reveals high levels of life-threatening antibiotic-resistant bacteria on raw supermarket meat. Yet the “cook it properly and everything will be OK” spin is just Big Ag’s latest attempt to absolve itself of any responsibility for squandering one of the most important medical innovations of our time– and putting American lives at risk.
Joey Rittenberry raises AWA-approved cattle and pigs on pasture at Rittenberry Farm in Burna, Kentucky. Rittenberry Farm is one of several trusted ranchers who supply high-quality grassfed cattle to the American Grassfed Beef brand. For more information, see americangrassfedbeef.com.
By Animal Welfare Approved
| November 19, 2012
This Thanksgiving, give thanks for pasture-raised food. Watch this video to see why pasture-raised products are so special.
By Animal Welfare Approved
| September 27, 2012
Katharine – or Katie – Short started Farm Girl Natural Foods in 2004. Originally beginning with sheep, she has since refocused her efforts on raising AWA pigs and beef cattle, and currently sells to a variety of local markets, restaurants and buying clubs. The farm has expanded to include co-workers Will, Ashley, and Amber. Katie now divides her attention between raising a few cattle, a plethora of pigs, and managing a rapidly expanding garden – as well as raising two children of her own.