Animal Welfare Approved
900 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20007
GHENT, NY – Kinderhook Farm has recently been awarded the Animal Welfare Approved seal for highwelfare animal husbandry. Animal Welfare Approved is a free certification granted to family farmers adhering to the high animal welfare standards outlined by the non-profit program. Accredited farms use the Animal Welfare Approved logo on their products, assuring consumers that the animals were raised humanely on pasture or range and allowed to exhibit natural behavior with minimal environmental impact. Lee and Georgia Ranney and their cattle are living the good life on Kinderhook Farm in Ghent, New York.
“When we first started with the farm,” Lee says, “there was minimal fencing and pasture water, so we knew we had our work cut out for us to move to an intensive rotational grazing system. It’s been five years of hard work, putting up miles of fencing and placing water systems but it’s all been worth it. We really wanted to get the animals outside on pasture where they belong.”
Lee and Georgia began farming in Monroe County, West Virginia, settling there after leaving their home and jobs in Ann Arbor, Michigan and traveling for a year.
“We stayed with a friend who had a farm in West Virginia and just fell in love with the landscape,” says Georgia. “Lee grew up on his family’s farm in western Michigan and always enjoyed that experience so we bought an old farm and 10 cows ready to calve and never looked back.”
While living and farming in West Virginia, Lee and Georgia became friends with Steve Clearman, who came to West Virginia to visit family. “Lee and Steve always talked about farming together and when this farm came up for sale, they decided it was the perfect opportunity,” Georgia explained, “and they thought the farm would be perfect for a grazing farm.”
So Steve and his wife, Renee, bought Kinderhook Farm and Lee and Georgia became partners with them on the farm. Kinderhook Farm came with Jules Rutschmann and Harry Lobdell, both having worked here for many years.
“We are fortunate to have Jules and Harry working with us,” Lee says. “We couldn’t have made the transition from a conventional farm to a grazing farm without them. Jules and Harry appreciate the intensive grazing system that we have built here. We all like seeing the improvement to the pastures and hayfields. Visitors to the farm love it, too. They like looking at the animals out on pasture. The fact that it looks like a farm, with animals roaming the fields, gets people excited about farms and farming.”
The Ranneys heard about Animal Welfare Approved from a fellow farmer who was recently certified by the program, Dan Gibson, of Grazin’ Angus Acres. “We were impressed with the Animal Welfare Approved auditor who came to look at our farm,” Georgia says about the application process. “They were knowledgeable and understood the animals and the land. We felt good knowing that the standards were high and that the label would give our customers independent proof that we treat our animals well and allow them to be themselves. People coming to the farm store and learning about grassfed beef are also interested in how the animals are treated, so the Animal Welfare Approved label gives them another reason to be confident in our practices.”
Kinderhook Farm is two hours from New York City and the farm sells meat to restaurants and markets in the city. The chefs like the quality of the grassfed beef they provide. They have found people in New York to be very supportive of farm stores. “New Yorkers are really knowledgeable about the food they eat,” Georgia says, “and it’s an exciting time to be doing what we do. The emphasis is shifting to local food, people are educating themselves about what and how they eat, and the energy is amazing. Farmers work by themselves a lot, so to be able to talk with the consumer and chefs who visit our farm and store and use our products if very satisfying. We enjoy giving farm tours. It really motivates us to know that people appreciate the beauty of our farm and our treatment of the animals.”
More information about Kinderhook Farm, including how to purchase beef, can be found at www.kinderhookfarm.com
Animal Welfare Approved audits and certifies family farms that raise their animals with the highest animal welfare standards, on pasture or range. The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has lauded these standards as being the most stringent when compared to other third-party certification programs. Visit www.AnimalWelfareApproved.org for a searchable database of approved farms and restaurants, shops and markets where their products are sold. Choose the one independent food label that means healthy, safe, environmentally responsible and humanely raised.
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