Noah Ranells and the team at Fickle Creek Farm raise Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) pigs and Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW and Certified Grassfed by AGW beef cattle and sheep near Efland in North Carolina.
Since 1999, Noah has helped manage and grow Fickle Creek Farm from modest beginnings of 10 laying hens and five goats on a small acreage to raising AGW-certified sheep, beef cattle, and pigs on over 200 acres. “We use approximately half of the farm’s acreage to provide farm-fresh, healthy food to our community through careful environmental stewardship, sustainable practices, and high-welfare animal management,” says Noah.
The Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW pigs at Fickle Creek Farm are raised outdoors on pasture and in the forested areas of the farm, 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.
In addition to being Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW, the cattle and sheep at Fickle Creek Farm are 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. Rotational grazing is a foundational component of Fickle Creek Farm’s management practices: “The steers are followed by sheep, which are followed by laying hens.” This approach allows grass to recover before the cattle return to graze again; it also keeps the soil naturally fertilized and minimizes the build-up of internal parasites, thereby avoiding reliance on chemical treatments. “In addition to rotational grazing, nutrient cycling is also vital to the health of our farm,” Noah adds. “Careful manure management helps to minimize external nutrient inputs to the farm and avoid nutrient loss into surface and groundwater.”
Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW pork and Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW and Certified Grassfed by AGW beef and lamb from Fickle Creek Farm is available at the Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market, the Durham Farmers’ Market, and the Western Wake Farmers Market, as well as directly from the farm via the on-farm store (open Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.) or by appointment. Check the AGW directory for details. For more information about Fickle Creek Farm, visit ficklecreekfarm.com, follow the farm on Facebook or contact Noah Ranells at firstname.lastname@example.org and 919-304-6287.