All of us at Animal Welfare Approved have been concerned about the seemingly endless spate of devastating weather across the country, and are doing what we can to reach out to our farmers in affected areas. Our hearts go out to all of those who have suffered the overwhelming loss of loved ones, homes, and livelihoods. As the people of Joplin, MO work to pick up the pieces and move on from the disaster in their area, we have become aware of a unique effort springing from within the AWA family and we are doing all we can to support it wholeheartedly.
Jack Whisnant, the son of Patricia and Mark Whisnant (Animal Welfare Approved farmers from American Grassfed Beef in Doniphan, MO), is leading a group to Joplin to provide BBQ pork and grassfed burgers over the Memorial Day weekend and following week.
This endeavor is a massive undertaking, and we want to assist Jack in being able to meet the needs of all those in Joplin who come to him for aid. If you would like to support this effort please read on for details on how you can help.
Dominick and Jeanette Siniscalchi have been raising livestock on their farm in Delaware County, New York since 1988. Dominick’s history with farming began in Italy, where his mother raised goats, made cheese and grew hazelnuts. Raising grassfed Black Angus cattle has always been SMI Farm’s main business, and Jeanette proudly describes their beef program as “birth to table.” The cattle remain on the farm until the day they are slaughtered, thanks to an AWA Good Husbandry Grant which allowed them to build an on-farm slaughter facility.
Jamie Jacobs has been farming since the 1970s on the family farm he was raised on in Clinton, North Carolina. While his family has always grown row crops, today Jamie raises hogs with the help of his son, James, as his father did from time to time.
When Ron and Terri Luce’s small business went under in 2008, they took it as a sign. They’d been given the opportunity to go home, so they returned to the farm that has been in Terri’s family since Poppa Skinny farmed it naturally at the turn of the 20th Century. Seeing the extent of our modern food system problems, Terri and Ron knew they wanted to be self-sufficient for the benefit of their family and wanted to produce food sustainably for the benefit of all. Since Poppa Skinny’s Farm hadn’t been farmed in over twenty years, ensuring their produce was chemical free was simple, but today they are more proud of raising their laying hens, pigs, dairy goats and beef cattle on pasture. “My chickens eat bugs,” says Terri, pleased that her animals are allowed to be animals.
Greg Kasten of Double Creek Farm has been raising cattle on his family’s land in Clayton, IL, about 40 miles East of the Mississippi River, since 1976. While the farm has undergone many changes since then, his animals have always been pasture-raised outdoors with a focus on making sure to keep them happy and healthy. His Animal Welfare Approved herd now consists of around 100 White Park cows. Greg sought AWA certification in 2010 and was happy to learn that the AWA standards were well in-line with his own goal as a farmer to always act in the best interest of his animals.
Greg Turner raises AWA-certified Hereford and Angus beef cattle on pasture at 240-acre Rocking T Ranch in Paxton, Florida.
Legislators in Florida have thrown out proposals to introduce a new law which would have made it illegal to take unapproved videos or photographs of industrial farm animal production in the state.
The “Ag Gag” bill, which was openly backed by the industrial farming lobby, was promoted on the basis that it would help to improve animal welfare or protect family farms. But the stark reality is that this proposed law has absolutely nothing to do with animal welfare and was nothing more than Big Ag protecting its interests again, stealthily promoting legislation that would effectively make it a felony to attempt to expose the horrific practices that are going on behind the doors of industrial farms.
John Klimes began raising chickens in 1988 for 4-H in Kimberly, Idaho, where he was born and raised, just 25 miles from the farm he bought in 2008. His flock of Animal Welfare Approved laying hens are a mix of Barred Rock and Rhode Island Reds, which he hatches out on the farm, allowing his hens to do the work that heat lamps used to do in the farm’s earlier days.
Greg Mullen and his business partner Mary Maverick Gary have put their personal and family histories to work at Artisan Cattle, where they raise Wagyu beef cattle in Florida’s horse country. Before becoming a rancher, Greg received a degree in animal science from Sul Ross University in Texas and studied culinary science throughout Asia. Mary, a Texan from the famous Maverick family, brought experience with horses and a love for all animals to their cattle operation, established in 2005.
In 2007, when Anna Mann and her husband Thad had “maxed out” their urban garden in Raleigh, North Carolina, they bought 16 acres in the country outside of Winston-Salem and began a farm. Anna has a background as a plant scientist, but now her days are consumed with caring for their daughter, who was born a year after their move, and managing the farm, including their Animal Welfare Approved laying chickens and pigs.