Ask any farmer to list his or her major challenges and the issue of who will take over the farm when it’s time to retire will no doubt feature in the top 10. According to government statistics about 40% of U.S. farmers are 55 years old and up, raising real concerns about exactly who is going to fill their shoes. The sad fact is that there are fewer young people getting involved in farming than ever, and many young people see no future in the family farm. As a result, countless family farms are being bought up and absorbed by larger industrial operations. In my opinion this is one of the greatest tragedies of our generation. This is why Shelby Grebenc of Broomfield, CO, is such an inspiration. Shelby is founder of “Shelby’s Happy Chapped Chicken Butt Farm,” located about 20 miles outside of Denver. And at just 12 years-old, Shelby is also the youngest Animal Welfare Approved farmer to date. Shelby represents a beacon of hope for the future. Her dedication to high-welfare farming is an inspiration to all of us – regardless of age.
Since 2009, Kozen Sampson has raised Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) laying hens, in addition to bees and vegetables, at the Trout Lake Abbey Retreat in Trout Lake, Washington. Located at the base of Mount Adams on 23 acres, Trout Lake Abbey’s flock of 200 laying hens include Silver Laced Wyandottes, White Orpingtons, Light Brahmas, Black Austrolorps, Araucanas, and Barred Rocks. This assortment of breeds produce eggs that vary in color from light brown, to blue and green. The farm’s chickens roam freely on the pastures and orchard at Trout Lake Abbey where they can peck for insects and grubs, and are fed grains, fruits and vegetables that are grown on the farm. They are never given unnecessary antibiotics or other routine medications.
Raising his chickens on pasture is just one part of Kozen’s commitment to environmental sustainability: “We believe in a closed system of farming in which we compost organic matter to add back to our soil, plant only non-GMO seeds and foods, use certified organic seed and resources whenever possible, and minimize our day-to-day use of chemicals or other potential pollutants and toxic materials at the Retreat.”
Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW pasture-raised eggs from Trout Lake Abbey are available at several local retail outlets. For more information on the Trout Lake Abbey Retreat and farm, visit tlabbey.com and contact Kozen at email@example.com.