Melinda Brown raises Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) pigs on 10 acres in Vilas, North Carolina—a town just outside of Boone, located in the high country. “Nothing is flat here. It’s all rather steep, which makes fencing a bit challenging,” says Melinda. “The property was not used for about 10 years, so for the last five I’ve been working on reclaiming the pastures and getting my infrastructure built.” For years she has produced most of her own food, and she enjoys preserving and canning the bounty of her harvests. “I enjoy helping other people learn how to can,” says Melinda.
The pigs at Never Ending Farm are raised outdoors on pasture or range, 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. “Pigs are my favorite farm animals, and I love to farrow pigs probably the best of all,” she explains. “I like to raise animals outdoors on pasture and feed a non-GE diet. I keep a mix of Hampshire, Tamworth, Hereford and Old Spot pigs, all pretty much crossbred, and my boar hog is a Hampshire-Tamworth cross,” says Melinda. “They breeds that perform well in outdoor systems and produce superior quality meat.”
“Raising animals outdoors on pasture allows them to do what they would naturally do,” says Melinda. “My pigs are very happy out roaming around rooting and eating grass, and wallowing in the pond. I couldn’t imagine ever keeping them confined indoors. I love my pigs and I like them to have a clean space and to be happy animals—which they all are!” In addition to her Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW pigs, Melinda also raises a few cattle and goats to help keep the pastures in good shape—something that can be an ongoing challenge in the mountains.
Melinda pursued AGW certification with a nearby friend and neighboring farm, whom she supplies piglets: “A neighbor who raises feeder pigs was having a hard time getting certified because they could not find a convenient supply of Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW piglets, so I chose to apply and get certified to help them,” Melinda explains. “Now that I have been approved and am more aware of the AGW program, I am excited about helping other people be more aware of the welfare and care of their animals.”
In the future, Melinda plans to continue farming, making changes as needed: “I’d have to say I’m pretty happy with the situation I’m in,” she says. “I would definitely like to expand the barn area and work on my fencing a bit more other than improving the housing for the animals to make it a bit easier to deal with in the winter. Life is good here on the farm.”
For more information about Never Ending Farm, contact Melinda Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-773-5453.