In October an inspector from the Animal Welfare Approved certification program (http://www.animalwelfareapproved.org/) came to reinspect my cows and the new farm they had moved to in September. Its a lengthy process, but one that I believe in. My herd was the first herd certified in the State of Vermont and one of the first in New England. My TailGait herd has now been inspected 3 times in 2 years, in two different locations. My hope is that everyone who buys breeding stock from me will certify their farm, land & cattle and continue the process.
Although I now have a small herd and do not sell my cows as "beef" in a package, the certification is something I have wanted. Mostly to set a higher standard for my management and to set a good example for others to follow.
Someday my herd will have expanded to the point where I will be able to process and package beef for sale and I feel its important for consumers to know that these animals have been raised humanely and that the land has been nutured as well.
Healthy land makes healthy grass, which in turn makes healthy livestock and healthy meat.
As November came I wondered when my approval letter would finally arrive.
It arrived last week at my small rural post office and I smiled all the way home.
Richard, the AWA inspector, drives to farms all over the New England region.
If you want consumers to know that you raise your livestock to the highest standards, go to the AWA website and sign up. You, and your customers, will be glad you did.