February 2, 2015
The HSUS Wisconsin Agriculture Advisory Council
Local farmers, producers and other agriculture professionals join with The HSUS to foster better animal welfare and environmental stewardship
Meet the members of the HSUS Wisconsin Agriculture Advisory Council, part of our growing system of state agriculture councils.
Rhonda Carrell and her husband, David, live in Wood County, Wisconsin, where they have been living out the dream of making a positive difference in the world with their home and 10 wooded acres. Rhonda runs a lifelong business on their property and they are very devoted to their families---as they say, “both human and furry.”
Rhonda is a founder of Protect Wood County & Its Neighbors, a citizens group formed in response to the 2012 announcement that a massive confined animal feeding operation, along with manure-irrigated cropland, was being sited on 12 square miles of forested land in recreational Saratoga. The group is fighting to preserve their water, soil, air, quality of life and property values.
David’s family has been farming in Wisconsin for four generations.
Genie Metoyer started a certified organic produce farm with her husband, Russ Brown. Her grandparents had been farmers in Louisiana, and Metoyer spent summers with them, falling in love with farming. Since she and her husband had had such a hard time finding good affordable organic produce, they decided the world needed more organic farms. In 2011, they purchased a 40-acre farm that had been established in 1915.
Metoyer has since been certified in plant-based nutrition through Cornell University so that she can teach plant-based lifestyles. She and her husband have learned to cultivate plant foods, maintain soil fertility and raise healthy organic vegetables without the use of animals. They use crop rotation, green manures and provide habitat areas for wildlife and beneficial insects.
The family seeks to create awareness of healthy eating and supporting rural communities, and to stress the importance that farms are the fabric of our society. The best way to feed the world, Metoyer says, is through small family farms.
Mike Miles started the Anathoth Community Farm in 1986 as a center for the study of nonviolence, community and sustainable living. His love of farming came from spending summers on his grandmother’s dairy farm in Michigan.
Anathoth Farm was built from the ground up and comes right out of the pages of Mother Earth News: buildings with solar heating and hot water, composting toilets, greenhouses and a 10,000 watt photovoltaic grid tie. Produce and maple syrup have been staple crops from the beginning with animal husbandry arriving on the scene about six years ago. After becoming aware of management intensive grazing and permaculture, Miles became a soil carbon cowboy. Steers, chickens, pigs and cover crops are the tools he uses to build soil microorganisms while producing the tastiest, healthiest meat there is.
Miles and his wife, Barb, sponsor educational events on the farm to promote good health and sustainability.
Lea Dolan Stroncek
Spending her early years on a farm enriched Lea Dolan Stroncek’s ideas as a sixth generation farmer---and she made the decision to take on the home farm with future generations in mind.
When they bought the family farm, it was being rented to a grain grower, so the task of converting it back to grasses and alfalfa with waterways and tree lines became a labor of love. In 2007, 17 Murray Grey cows and a bull were their choice of cattle because of their docility and grass finishing. Today, they have 100 head of cattle on 300 acres along with 100 chickens and 17 pigs. The old barn has been renovated into an on-farm store with a focus on their grassfed beef.
The farm is certified by Animal Welfare Approved, American Grassfed Association and MOSA Organic. “Transparency is very important with our products,” Stroncek says, “and the gold standard for customers who buy from us is that these cattle lived a happy life and were cared for with good animal husbandry.”