The herd of beef cattle and flock of sheep at Liberty Farms in Ghent, NY…
Walker Farm sits at the foot of Whortleberry Hill with land in the towns of New Braintree, West Brookfield and North Brookfield, Massachusetts. “The farm has an incredible history,” explains farmer Joan Walker. “It is on an original Land Grant from King George in the original British Colonies and has been run as a homestead and farm since 1763. We found a British pence piece when we were digging the yard. And before the European settlement, the area was the homeland of the Native American Nipmuc tribe.”
Today, the 400-acre farm is home to a small herd of Red Devon cattle, which graze the rolling, lush pastures. “We established the herd in 2012 because we wanted to produce grassfed and finished beef,” Joan explains. “No antibiotics are given to our cows and we never feed grain, eliminating the genetically modified corn fed to most feedlot cattle from our customers’ diets.”
Joining the Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW program was a natural fit, as a result of her high welfare management practices: “We were very proud when we received final approval as a Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW producer of pasture-raised beef,” says Joan. She also manages the farm with wildlife and habitat conservation in mind. “We won the 2010 Massachusetts Tree Farm of the Year, mostly due to our sustainable, ecological harvesting and habitat preservation practices,” Joan says. As well as high quality Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW beef, Joan also sells seasonable produce, honey and beeswax products, firewood and lumber from the farm.