The flock of wool sheep and laying hens of Harmony Sheep at LaCygne, south of Kansas City, have been certified as Animal Welfare Approved, a third-party certification program and food label for sustainable, high-welfare, pasture-based farming.
In addition, Animal Welfare Approved awarded Harmony Sheep a Good Husbandry Grant. AWA has been helping to promote innovative farming practices through its Good Husbandry Grants program for four years, funding projects across the nation that improve animal welfare and allow pasture-based farmers to increase productivity for their operations.
Tammy Grimmett of Harmony Sheep raises Icelandic sheep and laying hens on the 25-acre farm that she and her husband Greg own. Tammy and Greg have been farming since 1995 and in 2010 they began raising Icelandic Sheep which is a triple-purpose sheep breed known for quality wool, meat and milk.
Tammy says that she specifically wanted slow-growing breeds. Icelandic sheep are a very old, hardy breed adapted to pasture. She chose her chicken breeds for the same ability to flourish on pasture.
Harmony Sheep was awarded funding for mobile housing and shelter for pastured sheep and chickens. AWA Program Director Andrew Gunther offered his congratulations to the Grimmetts saying, "We received so many excellent proposals, it was difficult to choose from among the worthy applicants. Being selected is indeed an honor and we look forward to working with Harmony Sheep to make this project a success."
In announcing this year's grant recipients, Gunther shared his excitement about the growing effect and potential for the Good Husbandry Grants program, saying, "While the projects themselves are hugely important, we are seeing impacts far beyond the individual farm. Farmers talk; they know what works and what doesn't. As farmers discover the benefits of high-welfare, pasture-based farming, more are giving it a try. At the heart of it, our program provides an alternative to industrial agriculture -- one which not only improves animal welfare but sustains farming families and provides healthy, nutritious food for the rest of us."
For more information about AWA's Good Husbandry Grants, including a complete list of this year's winning proposals and profiles of completed projects, visit http://www.animalwelfareapproved.org/farmers/.
Animal Welfare Approved is a national nonprofit organization that audits, certifies and supports farmers raising their animals according to the highest welfare standards, outdoors on pasture or range.