Suzanne Nelson Karreman and her family, along with a dedicated and passionate farm team,…
Jackson Stinson is an inspiring young farmer. Certified at the age of 12, he manages a flock of Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW sheep on his family’s farm in Anson County, North Carolina. The Stinsons come from a farming background, and currently farm the land that has been in their family for over 100 years. “Our home is a 120 year-old farmhouse where my mother’s grandmother was born and raised,” says Jackson. “We have remodeled it reflecting the original home and history.”
Jackson’s parents, Chris and Melody, are both educators: Melody, a music teacher, and Chris, a high school principal. The Stinsons value hands-on training and want to inspire lifelong learning in their children. They help each of their children manage parts of the family farm. “We are a small family farm in which my siblings and I each own and operate our own farms,” says Jackson. “My sister and I are currently Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW in which I raise sheep at Rising Sun Farms and my sister raises pigs at Hog Wild Farms. My younger brother Walker raises chickens. We have been farming on our property for the past 7 years.”
Jackson manages a flock of Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW Katahdin and Dorper hair sheep, with approximately 60 ewes and 2 bucks. “The sheep are perfect for our farm since they are just the right size for me to handle and work with my siblings.” Dorpers and Katahdins are easy-care breeds with short, light ‘hair’ coats that don’t require shearing. This makes the breeds an excellent choice for the climate in North Carolina. The breeds are also known to product lamb with a delicious mild and sweet flavor.
The Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW sheep at Rising Sun Farms have constant access to pasture and grazing land, eating a diet of grass and forage throughout their lives. This promotes the health and welfare of the animal as well as the environment. “I chose pasture-based management because I wanted my sheep to have a natural experience,” says Jackson. “I rotate my pastures to help prevent parasite exposure.”
In addition to pasture-based management, the attention and care that Jackson shows his flock is the foundation for his farm management practices. “The most important part of my animal husbandry practices is showing my mothers great care when they are preparing to lamb. I provide dry clean bedding, clean fresh water, and continuous monitoring.”
Jackson and his family pursued AGW certification because we wanted to raise our livestock at the highest standard for quality, and this is especially important to him as he continues to grow his flock. “I plan to grow my flock to 200 ewes by the time I turn 16 and can begin handling all the responsibilities by myself. I raise the lambs for the local food market as well as sell by the piece from the farm. Having a certification is important to me.”
For more information about Rising Sun Farms and how to purchase Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW lamb, follow the farm on Facebook (@homesteadandhustle) or contact Chris and Jackson Stinson at firstname.lastname@example.org and (704) 695-4039.