Jennifer Sisney raises Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) pigs, laying hens, meat chickens and dairy goats at Landon Farm in Madison, Virginia. Jennifer grew up on a small farm in Virginia and farm living has always been a part of her life. Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Landon Farm is focused on producing high-quality, sustainable meat, eggs and vegetables.
Jennifer raises Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW pigs of various breeds, including pure bred Berkshire and Gloucester Old Spots, as well as cross-bred Tamworth and Ossabaw Island pigs, on over 50 acres of mixed woods and pasture. “Our animals are raised outdoors in the natural environment,” says Jennifer. “Our pigs are never confined indoors or on feedlots, but rather given freedom to root around the woods, graze on green grass and feast on berries and an abundance of nuts. Our animals are supplemented with local corn and barley, whole oats, flax seed, organic alfalfa and seasonal fresh produce.”
Jennifer chose to certify her animals with AGW to demonstrate the farm’s core priorities: “The most important aspect of our farming here is the welfare and wellbeing of our animals,” she explains. “Our AGW certification reflects that and assures our customers we really are farming the way we say we are.”
In addition to the AGW-certified pigs, Jennifer also manages Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW laying hens, meat chickens and dairy goats. The chickens are raised outdoors on pasture, where they can perform natural behaviors, like running, dust bathing, pecking and scratching for grubs and seeds. Pasture-based management not only provides the highest welfare conditions for the birds, but also produces healthier eggs and meat.
The herd of dairy goats at Landon Farm is managed outdoors on pasture, rotationally grazing one section of pasture before being moved to fresh fields. This type of management allows grass to recover before animals return to graze again; it also keeps the soil properly fertilized and minimizes the build-up of internal parasites, thereby avoiding reliance on chemical treatments.
Jennifer’s farming philosophy has evolved to encompass the broader relationship between agriculture and the environment. “Our farm is run using biodynamic methods,” says Jennifer, “meaning the farm works as a whole in an environmentally sustainable manner. We practice good land management, including multi-species grazing and field rotation. These and other practices help reduce disease and stress on the animals. Healthy, happy animals produce higher quality meat, eggs and milk. My goal is to improve the quality of life for my animals, reduce the impact of farming on the land and provide my community with a healthier choice of food.”