This post appears courtesy of Animal Welfare Approved.
Windy N Ranch has become the first Animal Welfare Approved farm in the U.S. to receive approval for eight farmed species, including meat chickens and laying hens, laying ducks, beef cattle, pigs, meat sheep, meat goats and turkeys. This certification and food label lets consumers know that these animals are raised in accordance with the highest animal welfare standards in the U.S., using sustainable agriculture methods on an independent family farm.
While Windy N Ranch is now the only farm in the program to raise eight approved species, Greg and Laurie Newhall and Gary and Nancy Jones started out raising just one species: chicken. However, as their interest and passion grew, they continued adding new species to the ranch, starting with beef cattle and pigs and moving on to sheep, turkeys and goats. Greg Newhall admits, "Things got out of control, but we fell in love with our investment!"
The Newhalls and Joneses chose to certify with AWA because it allows them to communicate to their customers exactly how they are raising their animals. AWA also provides them with support and guidance to continually improve their animal husbandry practices.
The Newhalls and Joneses continued to add livestock species to advance their vision of making the ranch a "one-stop operation" where customers can get all of their animal products from one farm. "We hoped that once customers tried one of our products and enjoyed it, that they would expand and try meat from other species," says Greg Newhall. "We've had a great reception with clients eating something they haven't tried before, like goat."
All of the animals at Windy N Ranch are raised outdoors on pasture or range, which has known benefits for animals, consumers and the environment. The Newhalls and Joneses chose to certify with AWA because it allows them to communicate to their customers exactly how they are raising their animals. AWA also provides them with support and guidance to continually improve their animal husbandry practices. "We are trying to learn as quickly as possible from every source we can," Greg Newhall says. "I think what AWA does is unparalleled in the industry in terms of how it promotes high-welfare farmers, the quality of inspectors, and the support in offering grants to farmers."
AWA Program Director Andrew Gunther says, "Our farm standards are the most stringent in the business, so this is an accomplishment they should feel proud of. It demonstrates Windy N Ranch's commitment to providing their customers with high quality food, while caring for their animals and the environment. The fact that Windy N Ranch kept coming back to certify with us as they added species emphasizes the positive relationship between farmers and AWA, and also shows our growth as a program."
Windy N Ranch welcomes prearranged tours of the ranch. Meat and eggs are available from retail locations and farmers' markets across the region. To find AWA-certified Windy N Ranch products, visit AWA's Online Directory, or for more information about the ranch, visit www.windynranch.com.