Looking ahead, working together

Dear Rebecca,

When I last wrote, we had just learned the outcome of the U.S. election, bringing both resolution and questions about what this means for food and farming. With the settling of the dust we look forward to representing transparency, rural communities and sustainable farming in our work with the incoming Biden administration. The need for transparent food labels isn’t going anywhere. As a non-profit here to audit and support independent farms, ranches and food businesses, our work will continue to be vital.

For those of you interested in certification, now is a great time to apply. We are continuing to waive application fees for a limited time and are also offering discounts for both farms, ranches and businesses seeking multiple certifications and producer groups certifying more than one farm at the time of audit. We look forward to working with you and invite you to read more updates from the AGW program.

Straight From the Source 
In his newest video in the “Deep Dive Talk” video series, AGW-certified farmer Bob Braun at Pigeon River Farms in Wisconsin explains why he pursued certification back in 2015 and what it means to his farm and his customers. Pigeon River Farms raises AGW-certified laying hens and beef cattle. Watch the video online for Bob’s take on certification.

Regenerative webinar
Do you have customers and people in your network that want to learn more about eating sustainably? If so, we have a webinar coming up all about regenerative farming that we’d love for you to share with the following posts with them:

The webinar is geared toward a wide audience—not just farmers but for everyone wanting to learn a little bit more about the positive impacts regenerative farming has on the environment, animal welfare, biodiversity and more! We’re trying to get this message out as far and wide as we can, so we appreciate your help in spreading the word.

From the Pros: New Approaches to Worming
Dr. Joan Burke is a Research Animal Scientist with the USDA, Agricultural Research Service Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center in Booneville, AR—and manages a Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW herd of sheep breeding and feeder stock. In this blog post, originally published in Sustainable Farming magazine, Dr. Burke explores innovative approaches for gastrointestinal parasite prevention and control in sheep and goats.

Updates From Your Peers
It has been a busy media week for AGW-certified farms, ranches and businesses!

  • The Toronto Star highlighted AGW’s certification programs in an article about Tamarack Farms. Farmers Nancy and Richard Self raise Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW, Certified Non-GMO by AGW Berkshire and Magalitsa pigs along with several species of sheep—and chefs in Toronto and Prince Edward County are big fans.
  • The Point Reyes Light covered a food renaissance in Tomales, CA, including Toluma Farms and Tomales Farmstead Creamery and how they have worked with area businesses like Piezzi Provisions to sell their AGW-certified sheep and goat milk cheeses during the pandemic with lost wholesale markets.
  • Fraga Farmstead Creamery in Oregon hosted an on-farm “Trick-or-Treat with the Goat Kids” because everybody needs a little fun right now! Check out the video from KPTV Fox 12 to see the goats, hear from AGW-certified farmer Elisabeth Bueschen-Monahan and learn about the delicious AGW-certified goat milk cheeses, caramels and products available from the farm.
  • The Good Food Foundation announced the 2021 Good Food Award Finalists, and congrats to the following AGW-certified farms and products: Prairie Fruits Farm Creamery for Fleur du la Prairie and Pelota Roja goat milk cheeses, Toluma Farms and Tomales Farmstead Creamery Atika sheep/goat milk cheese, Texas Iberico Sweet Prickly Pear Cured Lomo and Honey & Chile Pequin Sured Coppa and Lady Edison Soppressata made with AGW-certified pork from the North Carolina Natural Hog Growers Association. We’re cheering you on and can’t wait to hear the winners announcement in January!

If you have news to share, please let us know so we can help spread the word.

Andrew Gunther
Executive Director
Need help navigating with everything up in the air? Check out our COVID-19 Collected Resources for Farmers page here,
and let us know how we can help.
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