Jesse and Hannah Fouch run a cattle operation in California where some might say they are trying to do the impossible: “Our goal is to produce quality products while improving our environment at the same time,” Jesse explains. This means they take a holistic approach to ranching, which includes their efforts to make their family farm financially and environmentally sustainable, as well as their commitment to raising traditional cattle breeds. Jesse and Hannah chose to raise Dexter cattle for its adaptability to different weather and its small size. “Our cattle are raised on pasture from start to finish,” says Jesse. “At no point in their lives do they stand on concrete and eat corn. Cattle are designed to thrive on grass and we follow nature’s intentions.”
Fouch Farms’ cattle are Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW), and they also chose Certified Grassfed by AGW, the first—and only—food label in North America that guarantees food products come from animals fed a 100 percent grass and forage diet, and raised entirely outdoors on pasture or range. The cattle graze in harmony with the land and are given the lowest stress environment as possible. “We practice management intensive grazing and rotate our cattle through different paddocks to keep our pastures healthy and productive, and to avoid overgrazing,” Jesse explains. Raising animals on pasture in this way has known benefits for the animals and the land.
Jesse and Hannah pursued AGW’s grassfed certification because of the value it adds to their product: “We’ve been extremely happy with our AGW certifications,” Hannah says. “The standards are aligned with our farm’s philosophy and the staff are always helpful and personal. We’re excited to be Certified Grassfed by AGW because having such a respected organization backing up our claims will only make our product stronger.”
Jesse and Hannah sell their products locally, direct to consumers, to ensure quality, but also to support the local economy—and a truly sustainable future. “We encourage people to seek out farmers in their area and make connections,” says Jesse. “Your local farmers can provide nearly all of your food stuffs without trucking, diesel and refrigerated rail cars. Not only are you saving all that energy and natural resources, but you are supporting your local economy.” They believe passionately that local, healthy food should be available in every community and plan to continue offering high-welfare, grassfed beef in Mariposa County.