Karl Hudson and Mann Mullen own and operate Rare Earth Farms, LLC., a Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW), Certified Grassfed by AGW beef cattle operation located just outside of Raleigh, North Carolina. While Mann has farmed all of his life, Karl returned to his farming heritage after a career in retail management when the two saw an opportunity to combine their farming and marketing experience to sell high-welfare, sustainable products to meet growing consumer demand across North Carolina.
Karl and Mann manage a herd of 100 Angus cross cattle outdoors on pasture, feeding an entirely grass and forage diet. The herd is rotationally managed, grazing one section of pasture before being moved to fresh fields. This type of management provides quality forage by allowing grasses to recover before the cattle 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. Rare Earth Farms’ grassfed cattle are managed without the use of sub-therapeutic antibiotics, added hormones or animal by-products, and Karl and Mann integrate low-stress handling techniques into their pasture-based management practices. Karl says he has some of the friendliest cows around: “We take people out to see the cows, and they just come right up to you,” he explains.
Karl and Mann originally chose to pursue AGW certification back in 2008 because, as Karl says, “It seemed like a natural fit.” Animal welfare and environmental stewardship were already central to their farming practices, and although Karl and Mann found they were already managing their animals in ways that aligned closely with AGW’s farm standards, they both recognized that a third-party certification would help to verify their high-welfare, pasture-based farm management practices to customers. “AGW certification has added credibility to what we’re doing, because consumers trust the label. We are really happy to be associated with the AGW program,” adds Karl.
In 2015, Karl and Mann gained Certified Grassfed by AGW status for the herd of beef cattle at Rare Earth Farms. This is the only certification and logo in the U.S. and Canada that guarantees food products come from animals fed a 100% grass and forage diet, raised outdoors on pasture or range for their entire lives, and managed according to the highest welfare and environmental standards on an independent family farm. “Being Certified Grassfed by AGW gives us the credibility that our customers demand,” says Karl. “AGW’s grassfed certification provides a level of consumer trust that we could not achieve through other programs.”
Since Karl and Mann began farming together at Rare Earth Farms, Karl has been pleased with the growing consumer awareness of high-welfare and sustainable products. “Over the past few years we have been really happy with the customer response. People are definitely giving more thought to what they put into their body,” says Karl.
Certified Grassfed by AGW beef is available directly at the State Farmer’s Market in Raleigh, smaller seasonal markets, select restaurants, by CSA membership and from their food truck in the Triangle area of NC. Check the AGW directory for details. For more information about Rare Earth Farms, visit www.rareearthfarms.com or the farm’s Facebook page. Contact Karl at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-349-6080.