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Melinda and Kevin Knowles met in high school outside of Midland, TX and dreamed of owning a farm and growing and producing food since that time. “Growing up, if we didn’t raise it or grow it, we didn’t eat it,” says Melinda. Kevin retired from the Marine Corps and then worked for 20 years on the North Slope in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. In 2009, the two began farming on their part of family land in Texas. Today, Melinda and Kevin Knowles raise Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW, Certified Grassfed by AGW beef cattle at The Ridge at Loafers Glory in Liberty Hill, TX.
Their Texas roots run deep. Melinda’s mother’s side of the family settled along Bear Creek, which runs right through The Ridge at Loafer’s Glory, before Texas became a state. Her father’s parents had a nearby farm, which the family gifted to the Nature Conservancy. “Our farm is adjacent to the 550-acre conservation easement located in Central Texas Hill Country,” says Melinda. “It’s beautiful land well-suited for our farming operation. Over the years, we’ve worked hard to eradicate non-native grasses and rebuild fields of grasses native to Central Texas for grazing our cattle.”
Melinda and Kevin raise Balancer cattle (Angus-Gelbvieh cross breed) at The Ridge at Loafer’s Glory. “Balancers are a sturdy, large breed that have very strong maternal attributes and produce heavy and high-quality calves,” Melinda. “They are well-suited to our location as well as our pasture-based management practices. They have calm, easy temperaments and we focus on selecting cattle with desired traits such as maternal instincts and milk production that fit in with our production practices.”
At The Ridge at Loafer’s Glory, the cows graze one section of pasture before being moved to fresh fields. Rotational grazing, this type of management that allows grass to recover before cows return to graze again, is a foundational part of their cattle management. It also keeps the soil properly fertilized and minimizes the build-up of internal parasites, thereby avoiding reliance on chemical treatments.
In addition to being Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW, the cattle herd at The Ridge at Loafer’s Glory is Certified Grassfed by AGW, the first—and only—food label in the U.S. and Canada that guarantees food products come from animals fed a 100% grass and forage diet, and raised entirely outdoors on pasture or range.
Certification is important to Melinda and Kevin because it adds the highest level of verification to their products. “When you really start looking at labels and production claims, it’s hard to know what you’re getting. It is our goal to provide healthy, sustainably farmed food, and a certified product is something we can sell. We want the added verification and transparency. We want to be able to stand by our products, and certification is how we do that.”
Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW, Certified Grassfed by AGW beef from The Ridge at Loafer’s Glory is available for online order by quarters, halves and wholes. Orders can be picked up at the farm in Liberty Hill, at 5000 Burnet in Austin and will be available in parts of Alaska. Check the AGW directory for details. For more information, visit www.theridgeatloafersglory.com, follow the farm on Facebook and Instagram and contact Melinda and Kevin Knowles at (512) 748-8346, (512) 534-8881 or the contact page on their website.