In response to a recent press release announcing that La Cense Ranch has become the first grassfed beef producer to be certified under the USDA “Grass Fed” standard, Animal Welfare Approved Program Director Andrew Gunther made the following statement: “I am seeing a re-emergence of the arguments that surrounded initial discussions about the USDA’s ‘Grass Fed’ definition. The USDA standard only partially addresses buyers’ expectations for grassfed meat. We are concerned that consumers may assume that a USDA Grass Fed certification means that ruminants are raised on pasture for the duration of their lives, without confinement or feedlots.”
Robin Rau raises Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) Dorper and White Dorper sheep and breeding stock at Shelby Acres in Colquitt, GA. With the help of Shirley Brooks, Robin rotates sheep on managed pastures, letting them range and forage as nature intended.
A CEO of a local hospital by day, Robin started a small flock many years ago with the sole intention of producing enough lamb to meet the needs of her family. She initially became interested in pasture-based systems because of the difference in meat quality as compared to products from confinement and feedlot systems. She discovered the superiority of pastured meats and decided to raise her own, explaining, “I felt that if I could at least provide my own meat, I would have a positive impact.”
Over time the hobby grew in scale, and what was once a small flock has now become a respected source of Dorper genetics throughout the United States and beyond. A haired breed of sheep, Dorpers are known for their good mothering abilities, adaptation to hot climates, frequent twins, and high tolerance to parasites. Robin sums up the breed’s attributes: “They provide a very good return on investment.”
Robin decided to pursue AGW certification because she appreciates the verification of her commitment to the animals’ health and welfare, explaining, “I believe that while they are on this Earth they deserve the best care possible.”
Learn more about Shelby Acres’ Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW lamb and breeding stock at www.shelbyacresdorper.com.