Dickinson College Farm sits on 90-acres of high-quality farmland in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, with a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains near the Appalachian Trail. Under the direction of Jenn Halpin and Matt Steiman, Dickinson College Farm is home to Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW laying hens, sheep and beef cattle. About 20 acres of the farm is dedicated to vegetable production, and the rest is rolling hills of permanent pasture, woodlot, and large compost piles. In addition to the fenced pastures, the livestock also graze on a pasture mix they plant in the vegetable fields during fallow years. On top of all of the production, Matt and Jenn also use solar energy and make their own biodiesel and biogas for on farm power.
Matt and Jenn have been raising chickens together since 2000 and began raising cattle and building their herds since 2009. Since then, the husband and wife team have run farms in association with educational institutions. “We enjoy the challenge of organic and sustainable farming, as well as teaching methods and concepts to college students and the public,” says Matt.
The herd of beef cattle at Dickinson College Farm are a Black Angus and Herford/Angus cross. In addition to being Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW, the herd of beef cattle is also 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 percent grass and forage diet, and raised entirely outdoors on pasture or range. “These cattle grow well and produce nice marbled meat on a grain free diet – they have never eaten grain, only pasture and hay,” says Matt.
The flock of Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW laying hens consists of Rhode Island Reds, Red Sex Links, Buff Orpingtons and a few other breeds. “The hens are smart, hardy, enjoy life on pasture and lay well,” says Matt.
The flock of 40 Certified Grassfed by AGW ewes are a mix of Dorset, Cheviot, Longwool, and East Friesian. “We’ve worked with members of this flock since 2005. We all know each other well and all of the current sheep were born on this farm,” says Matt. “They perform well on pasture and are well behaved so long as they have plenty to eat. They also lamb on their own without trouble 95% of the time and have developed systemic parasite resistance. They also taste great!”
Dickinson College Farm pursued certification with A Greener World because high-welfare, sustainable livestock management is at the core of their farming practices. “As an educational farm, one of our core missions is to connect people with their food supply and help them understand how their food choices impact plants, animals and the environment. Certification by A Greener World helps to verify our good practices to a broader audience, and also pushes us to be the best we can be and keeps us moving forward,” explains Matt.
Dickinson College Farm’s Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW pasture-raised eggs, Certified Grassfed by AGW lamb and Certified Grassfed by AGW beef are available direct from the farm and the Farmers on the Square market on Wednesday evenings in Carlisle, PA.