Animal Welfare Approved was pleased to join more than 30 organizations supporting family farmers at this year’s Farm Aid 25: Growing Hope for America. The AWA Farm Aid team, Beth, Emily and Brigid, arrived in Milwaukee excited to participate in Farm Aid Eve, FARMpardy (AWA’s version of JEOpardy) and, of course, the 25th Anniversary Farm Aid concert. Dave Matthews: "The farmers on our good Earth are taking care of the land and taking care of our children." Neil Young: "Maybe you don't realize what's really going on with factory farms in this country, how they are displacing family farms at an alarming rate...Factory farms are the reason why we have food alerts. They are the reason why we have dying people and disease. Try to buy something from a family farm, something that's sustainably grown. You deserve the best. Your children deserve the best."
Jeanne and Jim Finch and their daughter, Maeve, raise Certified Grassfed by AGW beef cattle at Eco Valley Farm in Cattaraugus County, New York. Both Jim and Jeanne are first generation farmers: “We have always had a passion for farming and the life it builds,” says Jim. “We only started six short years ago; however, the more we grow, the more we want to grow, both as farmers and the lifestyle it brings.”
Located in the town of Allegany, Eco Valley Farm consists of 70 acres of well-managed pasture and woodland. “When we bought the land much was back to scrub, with tall bushes and small trees, multiflora rose and such. With a little old Ford 9n tractor and the will to make open land for cattle, we started working the land tirelessly,” says Jim. “We now have a larger tractor—although she’s still 50 years old! But we also have permanent paddocks, much more wisdom, a farm community connection, and a strong will to build terrific animals, manage the health of the environment, the health of the land and the health of ourselves. This land means strong family, strong backs and fresh air to all who visit.”
The herd at Eco Valley Farm consists of 16 Certified Grassfed by AGW Black Angus beef cattle. This is the only certification and logo in the U.S. and Canada that guarantees food products come from animals fed a 100% grass and forage diet, raised outdoors on pasture or range, and managed according to the highest welfare and environmental standards on an independent family farm.
Eco Valley Farm applies a rotational grazing system, grazing the cattle on one section of pasture before moving them to fresh fields. This type of management allows grass to recover before the cattle return to graze again. It also naturally fertilizes the soil and minimizes the build-up of internal parasites, avoiding reliance on chemical treatments. “We allow the cattle clean new grass and do not feed grain or supplement other than dry minerals. Knowing our cattle eat a fresh salad bar buffet daily is pleasing to us and should be for anyone who likes fresh meats. Let the animals eat what animals have eaten for years,” says Jim.
Eco Valley Farm pursued Certified Grassfed by AGW status to have a food label that to proves their high-welfare practices and grassfed management to customers. “The Certified Grassfed by AGW logo provides a high level of integrity and documentation to back up our claims,” says Jim. “We also believe that grassfed management is what can actually save the environment, save the toxicity of the food supply, rebuild soil, stop erosion and simply make cattle and people happy and healthy again. As farmers we hope to be catalysts for a positive movement towards better farming practices in our rural area.”
Looking forward, the Finchs plan to continue to produce quality meats and grow the cattle herd at Eco Valley Farm, with hopes to eventually become fulltime farmers. For more information about Eco Valley Farm visit www.ecovalleyfarm.com. To make an appointment to purchase beef, contact Jim Finch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 716-372-3023.