Riley’s Ranch AWA Press Release (hot off the press!)

AWAlogo2 RILEY’S RANCH IN CARTHAGE, N.C. AWARDED TOP ANIMAL WELFARE CERTIFICATION –Local farm uses sustainable agriculture methods to earn Animal Welfare Approved certification– CARTHAGE, N.C. (Sept. 11, 2013)

– The hogs and laying hens at 75-acre Riley’s Ranch are now certified as Animal Welfare Approved. This certification and food label lets consumers know that these animals were raised in accordance with the highest animal welfare standards in the U.S., using sustainable agriculture methods on an independent family farm. The Riley’s applied for certification with Animal Welfare Approved as a way to let their customers know that they raise animals with respect. David says, “We don’t just ‘say’ we love and care for our animals with the highest respect for their health and wellbeing. We actually have proof of this. AWA is the most highly regarded food label when it comes to animal welfare, pasture-based farming, and sustainability. That is what Riley’s Ranch is all about.”

Like other AWA farmers across the country, Melanie and David Riley recognize the growing consumer interest in how animals are being raised. The hogs and laying hens at Riley’s Ranch roam freely, with access to fresh spring water on coastal Bermuda grass pastures and woodlands. The AWA-certified Large Black hogs, Tamworth hogs, and mixed-breed laying hens are excellent at foraging and thrive in a pasture-based system. The Riley’s strive to minimalize any land or water contamination and soil erosion on their farm by avoiding the use of pesticides and by using strategic fencing around ponds. The animals at Riley’s Ranch perform natural behaviors, a key difference from practices at industrial confinement systems. “Simply put, chickens, cows, and pigs are not allowed to be themselves in those operations, and are forced to live in unnatural conditions that require the daily use of antibiotics to ensure the animals survive,” Melanie says. “Here at Riley’s Ranch, our pigs have a happy life and get to be pigs. Our chickens can be happy chickens, scratching and pecking to their heart’s content!”

The Riley’s welcome individual families or small groups of students for farm tours to meet the animals and to help gather eggs. Registered Large Black Hog piglets are available from the farm at eight weeks of age. Products from Riley’s Ranch are available at Sandhills Farmers’ Green Market, Elliott’s Provision Company, and at select local restaurants, including Ashten’s Restaurant and Elliott’s on Linden.

For more information about the farm, visit www.RileysRanch.com, or to make an appointment for a tour, call 910-947-5512.

# # # About Animal Welfare Approved Animal Welfare Approved audits, certifies and supports farmers raising their animals according to the highest welfare standards, outdoors on pasture or range. Called a “badge of honor for farmers” and the “gold standard,” AWA is the most highly regarded food label in North America when it comes to animal welfare, pasture-based farming, and sustainability. All AWA standards, policies and procedures are available on the AWA website, making it the most transparent certification available. Animal Welfare Approved’s Online Directory of AWA farms, restaurants and products enables the public to search for AWA farms, restaurants and products by zip code, keywords, products and type of establishment. In addition, AWA has published Food Labeling for Dummies, a regularly updated guide to commonly used food claims and terms, available free for download at www.AnimalWelfareApproved.org.