Alabama organic farm gets top rating and grant from Animal Welfare Approved organization
Gypsy Ranch in Altoona, Alabama gets highest Animal Welfare Association Certification
By Yvonne T. Betowt, The Huntsville Times
Link To Original Source Of This Article
ALTOONA, Alabama -Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) has certified the flock of laying hens of Gypsy Ranch, plus awarded the farm a $2,800 grant.
The AWA certification is the highest standard given in the United States to an independent family farm using sustainable agriculture methods of care.
Gypsy Ranch in Altoona is owned by Cricket and Kimberley Adams, who relocated to Alabama from Gulfport, Miss., in 2007 following Hurricane Katrina. The farm is near the border of Etowah and Marshall counties in east central Alabama.
Cricket is a retired state trooper from South Carolina. He and Kimberley moved to the Gulf Coast after going through Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Last year, they were hit twice by tornadoes, once in February and another on April 27. However, they did not lose one chicken, said Cricket, but they did sustain heavy damage to their house and garage and lost a number of 300-year-old trees.
They are now using the lumber from the trees to build a hatchery, said Cricket. The grant money will cover the remainder of the cost.
The Adamses’ began farming one acre for the sole purpose of raising enough food for their family to be self-sufficient. But they soon realized their farm was producing more than they could consume, so they began selling their excess produce at farmer’s markets and stores.
Now they are selling organic produce raised on 10 acres and eggs from AWA-certified laying hens raised on 16 acres of pasture land.
AWA Program Director Andrew Gunther says, “The accountability and integrity offered by Animal Welfare Approved farmers like Cricket and Kimberley are unmatched in food production. We’re glad to have Gypsy Ranch in the AWA family.”
The Adamses raise Rhode Island Red and Black Austrolorp laying hens according to Animal Welfare Approved standards.
Animal Welfare Approved is a national nonprofit organization that audits, certifies and supports farmers raising their animals with the highest welfare standards, outdoors on pasture or range.
The organization is known to be the most highly regarded food label when it comes to animal welfare, pasture-based farming, and sustainability with its certification called a “badge of honor for farmers” and the “gold standard.”
The Adamses, who have six grandchildren, invite school groups, families, and anyone interested in learning about sustainable family farming to Gypsy Ranch. They want to expand their flock of AWA hens to be able to supply their local grocery store with plenty of eggs each week.
AWA serves as the eyes and ears of the conscientious consumer, overseeing farms across the U.S. and Canada. All services are free to farmers and all standards, policies and procedures are available on the AWA website http://www.animalwelfareapproved.org/farmers/, making it one of the most transparent certifications available.
For more information on Gypsy Ranch, call (256) 840- 4994 or email email@example.com.
Updated Feb. 17 at 9:40 a.m. to reflect correct name of the Animal Welfare Approved organization.