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Dovetail Farms & Vineyard In Bells, TX Farm Profile

Dovetail Farms & Vineyard—Bells, TX

Suzanne and Kit Broussard raise Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) beef cattle on pasture at Dovetail Farms & Vineyard in Bells, Texas.

Kit and Suzanne started Dovetail Farms & Vineyard in 1996 with the idea of living sustainably–raising food naturally and utilizing high-welfare management practices for their animals. Kit is in charge of the cattle and Suzanne manages the vineyard, and both are woodworkers and tinkerers at heart. Kit and Suzanne discovered Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW while searching for a way to explain their animal husbandry practices to customers: “We began to research the many labels and standards and found that AGW’s requirements best matched our practices and animal care philosophies,” says Suzanne. “It is our hope that through the Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW program, our farm will be easier to locate for families wanting an economical source of conscientiously-raised beef.”

Dovetail Farms & Vineyard is located in north Texas among rolling hills, native grass pastures, and plenty of wooded areas for the cattle to roam. Kit and Suzanne raise Braunvieh cattle, a Swiss breed that was first introduced into the U.S. in the 19th century. They chose the breed because they wanted to raise cows that were good dual-purpose animals (producing both meat and milk) and not as overbred as some of the mainstream breeds. “Braunvieh are naturally calm animals, and they are well adapted to the Texas climate,” says Kit. “Their excellent maternal traits produce healthy and sturdy calves.”

Kit and Suzanne’s main aim is to practice good stewardship of the land and animals in their care. They utilize pasture-based management to provide a natural environment for the cattle and rotationally graze the land to ensure the animals have access to the most nutritious grasses and forbs. When forage is lean (during winter or especially dry summers) the cattle are provided fresh green barley sprouts. “On pasture, our animals browse leaves, munch acorns and move around all day long,” says Kit. “We feel that when provided a natural environment, our animals choose to eat what is healthiest.”

Steers at Dovetail Farms & Vineyard are raised outdoors on pasture from birth through slaughter, and a unique feature of the farm is that customers can reserve an animal as early as the day it is born. This allows customers to give input on feed protocol, slaughter specifications (like size and body condition), and processing specifications in partnership with the farmer to determine the final product and pricing. “It’s important for us to know how our food was grown, and we know that other families feel the same way, but do not always have the land or time to do it themselves,” says Suzanne. “We work in partnership with our customers to raise an animal the way they want it—with the guarantee that we’re following the highest standards for welfare as a Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW producer.”

In the future, Kit and Suzanne want to help families get a little closer to the food they put on their table. “We would love to know that every year each one of our market animals is going to a home that appreciates the care with which it was raised,” says Suzanne. “We find joy in meeting these families and in knowing that we’ve fed them well.”

Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW pasture-raised beef from Dovetail Farms & Vineyard are available direct from the farm, as well as from Green Market Natural Foods in Sherman, Texas. For more information, visit dovetailfarms.com, e-mail info@dovetailfarms.com or call 903-965-4801.

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