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Greg, Laurie, Bradley and Lisha Newhall, together with their partners and longtime friends Gary and Nancy Jones, raise Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) cattle, pigs, meat sheep, meat goats, and chickens for meat and eggs. With five separate livestock species currently certified, Windy N Ranch in Ellensburg, Washington, is the most diverse farm in the Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW program!
Farming is a second career for the Newhalls and Joneses. They began farming in 2004 when they bought 1,000 acres of land in Ellensburg. “We broke the cardinal rule,” Greg says with a laugh. “We fell in love with our investment. We started out just producing hay, then added chickens a year or two later, and then things really got out of control with cattle, pigs, sheep and goats!”
Part of the reason the Newhalls and Joneses have continued to add species is their vision of the ranch as a one-stop operation that would allow their customers to get all their animal products from one farm. “We hoped that customers would adventure into other species if they began eating just one, and we’ve had a great reception with clients eating something they haven’t tried before, like goat,” says Greg. “It’s a natural selling opportunity. Once they’re sold on the ranch and how we operate, with Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW being part of it, then getting alternate meat sales is easy.”
Having come to farming later in life Greg, Gary and their families hope to continually improve their animal husbandry practices, which is one of the reasons Windy N Ranch sought certification with A Greener World. “We are trying to learn as quickly as possible from every source we can,” Greg says. “At the beginning I just thought Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW was a reasonable and credible certification to get, but now as I have more and more interactions with AGW staff, my respect and appreciation for the program has grown. I think what AGW does is unparalleled in the industry in terms of how they promote high-welfare farmers, and we are always impressed by the quality of auditors. We are huge Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW flag-wavers. This certification is simply without a peer in the industry.”
In spring 2015, Windy N Ranch achieved another first when they earned the distinction of the first farm in Washington state to become Certified Grassfed by AGW for its sheep and goats. This is the only certification and logo in the U.S. and Canada that guarantees food products come from animals fed a 100% grass and forage diet, raised outdoors on pasture or range for their entire lives, and managed according to the highest welfare and environmental standards on an independent farm. Explaining why the farm decided to add the grassfed certification, Greg says: “The push right now is for a grassfed animal in order to get the taste and health benefits that come with it, like low saturated fat and high conjugated linoleic acids. The fact that AGW has real credibility and can offer grassfed certification to compliment what they’re already doing on the animal welfare side, makes it one complete package for the farmer.” The ranch also achieved Certified Grassfed by AGW status for its beef cattle in 2020. For the ranch’s non-ruminants–those that can’t get all their nutrition from grass–Windy N Ranch is now grinding their own Certified Organic soy- and corn-free feed.
Windy N Ranch welcomes prearranged tours of the ranch. Meat and eggs are available at Better Life Natural Foods in Ellensburg and Maggie’s Pantry in Roslyn, as well as at farmers’ markets across the region. To find Windy N Ranch’s Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW and Certified Grassfed by AGW products, or for more information about the ranch, visit windynranch.com, or contact them at greg@windyNranch.com and 509-962-4873.