At K-T Cattle Company in Carnation, Katie and Jim Haack manage a small herd of Belted Kingshire cattle, a miniature beef breed, on 75 acres. The K-T herd was recently certified as Animal Welfare Approved.
Animal Welfare Approved is a Virginia-based organization whose certification and label lets consumers know that farm animals were raised in accordance with the highest animal welfare standards in the U.S., using sustainable agriculture methods on an independent family farm.
Like other AWA farmers across the country, the Haacks recognize the growing consumer interest in how animals are being raised. Raising animals outdoors on pasture or range has known benefits for animals, consumers and the environment. Ensuring the cattle have access to nutritious pastures is integral to the Haack's management techniques.
"We believe pasture-based production is a healthy, sustainable, humane, soils-focused, carbon sequestration engine capable of saving the world!" says Jim Haack.
The smaller size of the Belted Kingshires, as well as the breed's suitability for pasture-based management, allows the Haacks to raise more cattle on less pasture when compared with commodity beef breeds. The herd is moved under a management-intensive grazing program, which has benefits including parasite control, nutrient management, pasture and soils health, and well-balanced access to fresh grass. Cattle at K-T Cattle Company are never given antibiotics, hormones, steroids, or other additives.
The Haacks pursued AWA certification in order to have an independent third-party verify their high-welfare practices.
"We believe in so doing, we not only validate the integrity of our farm but add a valuable advisor to our production 'team,' " says Jim Haack.
K-T Cattle Co.’s grass-fed beef is sold at the farm; visit www.KTCattleCompany.com.