Chad and Bishop Hunter raise Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) beef cattle on pasture at Hunter Farms in Jakin, Georgia. Hunter Farms, Inc. was established in 1937 by Mollie and John Wesley Hunter, Sr. Over time, John and his family were able to transform 50 acres of land and a few farm animals into a thriving farming operation with over 1,000 acres.
Over the years, Hunter Farms produced cotton, peanuts, corn and various other row crops, but always specialized in beef cattle. John Sr. worked closely with conservationists, as a land steward, to help maintain the integrity of his land. In 1956, he received the Georgia Merit Farmer awarded by the Macon Telegraph, in conjunction with Fort Valley State College, for excellence in farm management and soil conservation methods. He was also recognized by Ebony Magazine in 1972 for his accomplishments as an African American farmer.
Today, Hunter Farms is a multigenerational farm. John and Mollie’s children have carried on John Sr.’s legacy by managing Hunter Farms and holding on-farm administrative positions, which has allowed them to keep the farm intact for decades despite economic shifts and changing times.
Excellent animal husbandry skills strengthened the vitality of the herd of beef cattle and elevated the farm’s animal welfare standards. Throughout the decades, Hunter Farms was able to maintain a closed herd of cattle with genetics dating back to John and Mollie’s original herd. Chad and Bishop continue to manage the closed herd of Angus cattle—a breed chosen for its hardiness and adaptability and known for excellent beef quality. In pasture-based farming systems like Hunter Farms, the cattle have constant access to pasture and eat a diet of mainly grass and forage throughout their lives. This management practice is less likely to cause environmental degradation and far better for animal welfare, making for healthy and happy animals—and tastier, healthier beef. As required by AGW standards, the cattle never receive steroids or routine antibiotics.
The health of the cattle is central to Chad and Bishop’s management practices and, according to Chad, the main benefit of raising animals outdoors on pasture is the robust natural health of the herd. Chad explains that Hunter Farms pursued Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW certification for their beef cattle because of the distinction the label offers in the marketplace, and because it is “great to be able to get recognition for the hard work and care it takes to raise healthy and happy cattle.”
The farm works closely with the Natural Resources and Conservation Service and Georgia Organics to implement conservation practices, such as soil conservation, soil quality, water quality, rotational gazing and cover crops which benefit both the land and the animals. Hunter Farms continues to carry on the legacy of conservation and sustainability by farming in ways that benefit the health of animals, humans and the environment.
For more information about Hunter Farms, Inc., contact Chad and Bishop Hunter at 229-395-2455.