In 2008, Jennifer Curtis and Tina Prevatte Levy, Co-Founders and Co-CEOs of Firsthand Foods, merged…
David Whitman raises Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) and Certified Non-GMO by AGW hogs on David L. Whitman Farm in Kenansville, NC. David is the third generation of his family to farm in Duplin County, and started farming when he was just 14 years old. He now lives on and tends the farm where he grew up: “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” he says.
David manages around 130 Hampshire, Duroc, Farmer’s hybrid and Yorkshire pigs outdoors on pasture and range. He runs a sow farrow-to-finish operation, managing all phases of animal development, from birth until the pigs are ready for slaughter, somewhere between 225-275 pounds. The pigs live in the woods and in adjacent pastures that are divided into paddocks and organized according to age group, where they are free to root and forage as pigs naturally do. This high-welfare management is a fundamental component of AGW certification and is known to have environmental, nutritional, and culinary benefits. David is proud that he raises his pigs in their own natural environment, with plenty of space for rooting and mud puddles for wallowing. In the winter, David will even join in the fun, bringing out his hockey stick and a few sweetgum tree balls and skate over the frozen puddles.
David says the way he raises his hogs—and the farming practices which AGW supports and certifies—“could all be put under one heading, and that’s ‘Common Sense’.” Spending their lives outdoors, David’s pigs benefit from the fresh air and sunshine, as well as the plants, worms and other soil critters that nature provides, and give back to the earth nutrients and minerals in the form of manure that maintain the health of the farm’s soil. It is a truly symbiotic, natural and sustainable relationship from which the environment, the animals, and the consumer all benefit.
David is also a member of the North Carolina Natural Hog Growers Association, a cooperative of Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW and Certified Non-GMO by AGW hog producers who sell to restaurants, retailers and food processors throughout the region.