By Animal Welfare Approved
| December 30, 2008
Remus Preda and Lisa Randles farm 125 acres of rolling farmland in bucolic Washington County, New York. The husband and wife partnership is committed to responsible, humane and environmentally sound livestock management as well as farmland preservation. White Clover is situated at a 900 foot elevation 10 miles east of the Hudson River over looking Vermont’s Taconic and New York’s Adirondack Mountain Ranges and the Battenkill River Valley. It’s been said that the White Clover cattle have the best view in the family! The animals’ care and well being are the farm’s top priority. Exclusively grass fed year round from their own pastures, the Belted Galloway herd grazes up and down hilly pasture free of chemical fertilizers and abundant in white clover. Foraging and often calving in forests, old apple orchards and wetlands, the herd is consciously kept together as a whole allowing for cows and calves to remain together for two years or more. Their water comes exclusively from a crystal clear underground aquifer and spring fed creeks that meander though the pastures and along the forest’s edge. The imagery and beauty of the cattle and farm are often the subject of local painters and photographers.
Melissa Melhaus raises Animal Welfare Approved hogs on Fredheim Farm in Scandia, Kansas. Melissa grew up on a farm and has been farming for most of her life. Today she still manages the farm that she grew up on.
CBLM Farms, located in the rural hills of Steuben County, New York, has operated under the principles of low impact and natural farming for over 20 years. Owner and operator Lee Kosow graduated from the Animal Science program at Cornell in 1973 and has been stewarding land and animals ever since. His philosophy has always been to balance the needs of soils and animals. Raised on local pasture land, his beef cattle are happy and contented.
Owners of Cedar Meadow Farm, Julia and Brian Cronin, have a strong faith in healthy, natural food that produces a more balanced life. In fact their creed is easily found wherever they go: “We believe your food should not contain antibiotics and growth hormones, or be shipped hundreds of miles across the country and handled by countless individuals.” This simple belief is what drove them to start their own pasture-based farm about ten years ago. Beginning as poultry hobbyists, they have expanded to also raise pigs under the Animal Welfare Approved label. Selling eggs from grassfed hens and pork from their free ranging pigs is a part of their effort to change the food landscape, and provide local, fresh products without pesticides or synthetic hormones to their community.
Rose Marie Belforti and her husband Tim Wallbridge run Finger Lakes Dexter Creamery, a micro-dairy where they keep a small herd of Irish Dexter cows and produce the nation’s only authentic, pro-biotic Kefir cheese. “I love my cows and their well-being comes first,”says Belforti. “I want them to have the best life possible.”
| December 18, 2008
If the system is so poor that it must be propped up with off-label and subtherapeautic antibiotics, perhaps its time to revise the system?
In an apparent win for pharmaceutical companies, the Food and Drug Administration has recently rescinded a proposed ban on off-label use of cephalosporin drugs in animals raised for food. According to the Wall Street Journal, this last-minute reversal came just five days before the proposed ban would take effect.
Has the FDA lost its way? The official mission of the agency states, “The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs,” (among other responsibilities like regulating radioactive materials). Despite significant evidence that off-label and widespread agricultural use play a major role in creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the FDA has caved under pressure from the very companies selling the drugs.
This decision not to ban off-label usage begs the question: What is the point of having a label in the first place?
| December 11, 2008
Meadowbrook Farm is run by Mike Brown, his mother Lynn, and his grandfather Larry. Mike decided to apply to be Animal Welfare Approved after visiting a farm an Animal Welfare Approved farm in Texas. When he looked into the program he realized his farm already practiced all of the requirements. Meadowbrook farm’s cows always have access to pasture, over 40 acres to roam and are never in an over-populated area. They have access to a barn in the winter, a dry area in the spring, and fresh water during summer.
Green Dirt Farm is a partnership between Jacqueline Smith and Sarah Hoffman. The two friends raise 100% grass-fed lamb and dairy sheep just north of Kansas City, Missouri. The operation grew out of a combined passion for farming and a talent for breeding high quality sheep. “We breed for high production, good milk quality, good mothering skills, and disease resistance,” says Jacque (pronounced “Jackie”). “It is important for customers to be able to buy with good conscience.”
| December 9, 2008