Suzanne Nelson Karreman and her family, along with a dedicated and passionate farm team,…
With over three decades of ranching experience—from north to south Florida—the Sampson family knows livestock!
Jeff and Janet Sampson, along with their son, Jared, and daughter, Jessica, raise a growing herd of Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) and Certified Grassfed by AGW Black Angus cattle and Katahdin sheep at Sampson Family Farm near Live Oak in north-central Florida. The farm sits on top of the Suwannee Valley River Basin and natural springs feed its ponds, providing some of the cleanest water around.
Over the years, Janet and Jeff have experimented with several breeds of cattle, but for the past decade they have narrowed their selection to Angus. “From a personal view, they are easy to work with and make great mothers,” Janet explains. “From a product standpoint, the beef quality just cannot be beat—a nice, lean, tender meat with a pleasant taste.” In 2016, Jessica and her husband, Waylon Glenn, started raising Kahtadin sheep to add to the farm. “This allowed us to offer another great grassfed product to our customers as well as adding natural benefits of multi species grazing to our farm practices,” says Janet.
In 2015, Sampson Family Farm became the first farm in the state of Florida to be Certified Grassfed by AGW for their beef cattle—and in 2017, the first farm in the state of Florida to be Certified Grassfed by AGW for their sheep! This is the only certification and food label in the U.S. and Canada that guarantees food products come from animals fed a 100 percent grass and forage diet, raised entirely outdoors on pasture or range, and managed according to the highest welfare and environmental standards on an independent family farm.
Janet believes the quality of their beef and lamb can also be attributed to careful husbandry practices: “Our farming practices guarantee our cattle and sheep have plenty of room to roam outdoors on pasture, enjoying high quality grazing, fresh air and clean water. The beef and lamb we offer to our clients came from animals born and raised on our farm and tracked from birth to harvest to assure the freshest, cleanest product. We are a sustainable farm using pasture rotation with natural shade and fresh water available at all times. We also feed high quality free choice hay or grass silage during winter or drought conditions.”
The Sampsons are passionate advocates of pasture-based management; in recent years they have come to realize the importance of being good grass farmers, as well as good ranchers. “We have worked hard on the rotational grazing plan and have been pleasantly surprised on how well it keeps the grass and animals healthier, without an over load of commercial chemicals,” Janet says. “Our grasses are healthy and nutritious enough to graze and cut hay from, providing us with control over what the cattle eat all year long. This practice allows us to guarantee what goes into our cattle and sheep–and the meat our customers eat.”
Over the last decade, the Sampsons have also focused on the farm’s overall sustainability efforts, and Janet sees numerous benefits: “In doing so, we have not only become better caretakers of our animals, but better caretakers of our land and water resources. For us, the path to sustainable farming is our number one goal. This means producing the healthiest possible product while showing compassion for our animals and land.”
The Sampsons sought AGW certification as a way to communicate their high-welfare and sustainable practices to consumers. “We want our customers to know how much we care for our animals and the farm environment, and that it is possible to treat livestock with respect and honor, making sure they are well managed during the time they are with us,” Janet explains. “We hope to show customers who are dissatisfied with intensive farming practices that there really is an alternative.”
As well as focusing on raising top quality beef cattle, the Sampsons are planning for the future and hope to open a farm store, offering Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW, Certified Grassfed by AGW beef and lamb to their customers, along with local produce from other farms. Sampson Family Farm beef and lamb is available directly from the farm. For more information, check out the farm’s Facebook page, Instagram page and visit sampsonfamilyfarm.com.