December 20, 2013
The HSUS North Carolina Agriculture Council
Local farmers join with The HSUS to foster better animal welfare and environmental stewardship
Meet the local farmers who make up our North Carolina Agriculture Council, the fifth in our growing system of state agriculture councils.
Jamie Ager is a fourth-generation farmer from Fairview, N.C.
He and his family own and operate Hickory Nut Gap Farm, where they raise and market 100 percent grass-fed cattle, pasture-raised pigs, chicken, and turkey. On the farm they also have U-pick blueberries, black raspberries, blackberries, and apples.
Jamie has a B.A. in history and environmental studies from Warren Wilson College and is a 2006 graduate of the North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Agriculture Leadership Development Program.
He has traveled to New Zealand, Argentina, and Brazil studying global agriculture and grass-fed beef production and is interested in creating a better way of farming for the future.
Jamie and his wife Amy have three boys, Cyrus, Nolin, and Levi, who enjoy spending time on the farm with the animals and playing football in the back yard.
Amanda Carter knew that someday, she would have to take personal responsibility for the meat on her plate; she just didn't realize what an odyssey of livestock slaughter this would lead her on.
After awakening to the conditions and feeding practices of industrial agriculture, her family embarked on their agricultural path in 2008. Amanda chose to embrace the labyrinth of regulation and the dilemma of violence between the animal and the dinner table.
In addition to raising pastured pigs and poultry with her family on Spirit Level Farm in Rutherfordton, N.C., Amanda manages the Foothills Pilot Plant in Marion. From this AWA-approved, USDA-inspected poultry-slaughter facility, she strives to educate growers, consumers, and her staff in welfare-based best practices for small livestock management.
Amanda takes her position of stewardship very seriously and endeavors to reduce suffering in all aspects of the meat supply chain, for both the animals and the humans who work with them. She is a poultry welfare officer, accredited by the University of Bristol in the U.K., and she holds a bachelor's degree from Evergreen State College.
Shelley Proffitt Eagan
Shelley Proffitt Eagan is part owner of Proffitt Family Cattle Co. in Kings Mountain, N.C.
Shelley and her husband Brian moved from Colorado with their two children in 2008 to help her father, Steve Proffitt, manage his growing grass-fed cattle herd. Within a year of their arrival, the farm became the first beef operation in the Carolinas to become USDA-certified organic.
Initially direct-marketing their beef via farmers' markets, restaurants, small grocery stores, and an on-farm store, Shelley collaborated with their processor to get certified organic.
Proffitt Family Cattle Co. is also an Animal Welfare Approved farm, an American Grass Fed Association member, and Global Animal Partnership Step 4 rated. They currently sell all their beef to Whole Foods Market in Charlotte. When asked what she does for work, Shelley responds, "I open and close gates, move corral panels, and walk behind cows…when all goes well!"
Eliza MacLean is the owner/operator of Cane Creek Farm in Snow Camp, N.C., in the heart of Alamance County.
In addition to being home to the Ossabaw Island Hog, Eliza's farm raises Gloucestershire Old Spots, Farmer's Hybrids, and its very own Crossabaw breed—a mix of the Farmer's Hybrids and Ossabaw Island Hogs. The rest of the lively animal population on the farm is comprised of a variety of heirloom-breed chickens, Saxony ducks, and Katahdin sheep.
Cane Creek is a family-owned farm and practices sustainable agriculture. Its animals are never kept in confinement and have free range to graze, root, and wallow. Sheep and goats are all entirely grass-fed, and their feed never has antibiotics or animal byproducts. The animals are rotated continually through pastures and woods. This method of raising livestock helps to ensure healthy animals.
In addition to running Cane Creek Farm, Eliza holds a degree from Duke University and has worked with Niman Ranch, Heifer International, N.C. A&T University, and the Golden Leaf Foundation.
Traci Nachtrab, along with her husband Calvin, owns Lucky 3 Farm in Louisburg, N.C.
Their daughter Rachel, two dachshunds, four farm cats, two potbellied pigs, two donkeys, and more livestock than they can count round out this motley farm crew. They raise 100 percent grass-fed cattle, pastured poultry, and pastured pigs on their small family farm.
Traci is a former corporate-marketing chick turned farmer queen after she purchased the multi-generational farm from her grandmother. She is an avid animal lover and is passionate about providing safe, clean meats to local consumers. She boldly believes the animals who provide nourishment for us should be honored and treated with the utmost respect during all phases of their lives.
David and Linda Spain
David and Linda Spain are the proud owners of the Spain Farm, a fourth-generation small farm tucked away between the woods and urban growth in Raleigh, N.C.
The Spains take dominion over the land by using stewardship techniques to preserve the farm for the next generation. Their philosophy is to work together with the animals and the food they grow; instead of trying to artificially stimulate them, they make them their partners.
Every animal and crop has a role to play in creating a balance that helps the farm thrive. The Spains build up their soils with natural fertilizers so that their pastures and fields are lush and full of beneficial insects. Two guardian livestock dogs, Maggie and Sampson, work in harmony to keep everyone safe.
Spain Farm products include shiitake mushrooms, paw paws, figs, elderberries, honey, duck and chicken eggs, Muscovy duck meat, quail meat, and goat-milk skin care products. They enjoy providing specialty products to their customers and add new products each year.
Spain Farm sells to restaurants in the triangle area ranging from eastern North Carolina to the Piedmont. They can be found at the Durham Farmer's market on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon (April through Nov.) and 10 a.m. to noon (Dec. through March). Customers are welcome to come to the farm by appointment.