We wish you and your families a happy holiday season. As another season of farming and caring for their animals and land draws to a close, we would like to offer a sincere thank you to the visionary farmers in our program who provide us with better food raised a better way. We are only as strong as our farmers and they are an amazing group! To the people who support them, and to everyone working to create a better food system for the mutual benefit of our shared environment, farm animals, and ultimately for ourselves, we offer our thanks for your dedication and encouragement.
Brian and Tammy Michielson raise Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) pigs and laying hens outdoors on pasture at Maple Hill Farm in Ladysmith, Wisconsin.
In 2006, the Michielsons purchased what is now known as Maple Hill Farm: “We knew from the start that we wanted a fully functioning farm,” Brian explains. “We started raising meat and eggs for ourselves, but our production has expanded from feeding ourselves, family and friends into a local business that provides Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW pork and eggs to our community.”
Maple Hill Farm is set on 40 acres that are rotationally grazed by the diverse species on farm. The flock of Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW laying hens move around the pasture in a mobile chicken house and provide quality nutrients to the land as manure while they forage and scratch for pest insects, larvae and seeds. “Our hens reward us with beautiful eggs that have a deep, rich yolk,” says Brian. The small herd of Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW Large Black pigs at Maple Hill Farm run several acres of their own where they can root and forage. “Our pigs have a large area to play, root and run,” Brian explains. “They also are allowed into our garden area in the fall and summer to till up the soil and enjoy any vegetation we’ve left behind.”
Transparency and openness is central to the ethos at Maple Hill Farm: “We believe everyone needs to learn more about their environment and the food they eat,” says Brian. “As well as learning more about us through our Animal Welfare Approved certification, we invite everyone to come visit the farm any time to see how their food is raised, meet the farmer behind the food they eat, and learn why we do the things we do.”
Animal Welfare Approved by AGW certification was a great fit for the farm, which raises its pigs and laying hens outdoors on pasture in a way that allows the animals to engage in natural behaviors without reliance on things like routine antibiotics or other medicines. “We like to think that we are providing a quality product from animals that have lived a quality life,” Brian says. “We are focused on providing quality product with the highest levels of customer satisfaction, and we do everything we can to meet customer expectations.”
Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW pasture-raised pork and eggs from Maple Hill Farm are available at Bruce Community Farmers’ Market and Rusk County Farmers’ Market, as well as the farm’s on-site store. For more information, visit www.maplehillfarmwi.com or follow the farm on Facebook @mmaplehillfarm.