Sustainable farming

PENNSYLVANIA - More farmers are moving to organic practices, free of hormones, antibiotics.

The smell greets visitors even before they enter the hog barn at Beaver Run Farms.

Even humanely, sustainably, naturally raised pigs kind of stink. And the first animal one encounters is Abner, the boss hog, biggest of the boars.

But while most large-scale hog farms force the animals to spend all of their time milling around on metal slates or on concrete pads, straw covers the floors of the barn at Beaver Run Farms near Turbotville, Northumberland County. The hogs also have more room than they would in a concentrated hog barn.

''They just root and play,'' said Stephen Forman, who began raising the hogs on a diet free of antibiotics and growth hormones last year, after returning to the Central Susquehanna Valley from South Carolina.

Forman is one of a growing number of local farmers who have embraced sustainable farming practices as an alternative to conventional farming and the trends of boosting the numbers and concentration of livestock.

''This is where my heart lies,'' he said. He also raises pastured poultry, and expects to get his first flock of peeps for 2006 this week. The birds are kept in floor-less, cage-like structures that are moved around a field. The structures are moved each day so the birds have plenty of plants and bugs and worms to nosh.

''It's the same bird that everyone else grows, but they're raised different so they taste different,'' he said.

Source: The Morning Call
calendar icon 2 May 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.