The North Carolina Natural Hog Growers Association (NCNHGA) is seeking natural hog growers to supply the growing demand for pastured pork. NCNHGA is a farmer-owned marketing cooperative aimed at successfully marketing hogs raised outdoors without the use of antibiotics, growth promotants or animal byproducts. Current markets include national grocery outlets, local restaurants, and other whole cut retailers. All members are required to be Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) before joining. Please contact Tim Holmes of AWA directly with certification questions (252-796-8079). An informational session will be held June 19, 2010 in eastern North Carolina for those interested in joining the cooperative. Contact NCNGHA President Jeremiah Jones at 910-290-2547 for meeting details or additional information about NCNHGA membership. Animal Welfare Approved is a free certification for family farms raising their animals outdoors on pasture or range. AWA provides marketing and technical support to farmers in the program. For more information visit www.AnimalWelfareApproved.org.
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.