Beth Boesche-Taylor raises Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) dairy goats at…
Emily Macdonald, with the help of her husband Jim, raises Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) sheep at Greenfield Grazing in Buchanan, Michigan. Emily has been interested in farming for most of her life, starting at age 8 when she became a member of a local 4-H sheep club in Storrs, Connecticut. “I kept 3 or 4 ewes and showed their lambs at the county and state fairs,” said Emily. “I also had laying hens and vegetable growing projects. My interest in sheep and agriculture has persisted ever since. When Jim and I had the opportunity to acquire land in 2016, we began planning a small, pasture-based sheep operation which became a farm business in 2018.”
Greenfield Grazing consists of 80 acres of gently sloping terrain that was formerly an apple orchard and crop farm. “About half of our acreage is wooded,” explains Emily. “The other acres are a mix of land in hay production and pasture, where we graze our flock of sheep.”
The Macdonalds raise Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW Royal White and Katahdin hair sheep. “We raise their lambs for replacements, for breeding stock to sell to other producers, and for meat sold directly to customers,” says Emily. “Our sheep breeds are a good fit for our farm because they can utilize ‘wild’ pastures with both browsing and grazing. They have moderate frame size, making them relatively easy to handle and transport, along with moderate nutritional requirements. They are hardy, with good maternal traits and good carcass quality.”
Developing a well-functioning, sustainable farm ecosystem is at the core of Emily’s farming and animal husbandry practices. “Sheep are ruminants and are meant to be on pasture. Pasture forage is their natural food. They can transform plants that are indigestible to humans into nutritious meat by grazing on marginal land that cannot support annual crops. Pastures improve ecosystem processes by sequestering carbon, keeping soil covered, and keeping living roots in the soil throughout the year. Pastures can provide wildlife habitat, and well-managed grazing animals distribute manure and plant residues across the ground, providing food for soil biota and increasing soil organic matter. It’s all part of a larger system that benefits the environment, the sheep and our customers.”
Emily chose to certify with A Greener World so that their customers can see the criteria and standards backing their farm’s certification. “This is especially important for people who are unfamiliar with agriculture and/or are unable to visit the farm,” explains Emily.
Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW lamb is available by the cut at outlets in Three Oaks, MI along with an online ordering and on-farm pick up option. Visit the AGW directory for more details. The farm is open to visitors by appointment. For more information about Greenfield Grazing, visit greenfieldgrazing.com, follow the farm on Facebook and Instagram and contact Emily Macdonald at firstname.lastname@example.org and (269) 697-0063.