Leahey Farm is an agricultural enterprise raising grass-fed, hormone-free and chemical-free pigs, milk cattle and beef for our local communities in western Massachusetts. Because farm animals forage on pasture – their native diet — they grow at a natural pace and are healthy. Our family does not treat our animals with antibiotics or other drugs nor feed them growth-promoting additives. Raising grass-fed animals has an array of benefits for the consumers, the environment, the animals and the farmers.
Nutritious Meat: A major benefit of raising animals on pasture is that the meat is far healthier than that of animals crowded into feedlots and fed grain to fatten them quickly. For example, compared with feedlot meat, meat from grass-fed beef has less total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories. It also has more vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and a number of health-promoting fats.
Clean Environment: When properly managed, raising animals on pasture instead of factory farms is a net benefit to the environment. A diet of grazed grass requires much less fossil fuel than a feedlot diet of dried corn and soy. On pasture, grazing animals do their own fertilizing and harvesting. The ground is covered with greens all year round, so it harvests solar energy and maintains topsoil and moisture. When animals are raised outdoors on pasture, their manure is spread over a wide area of land, making it a welcome source of organic fertilizer, not a waste management problem.
Healthy Animals: Ruminants – cud chewing animals such as cattle – were designed to eat fibrous grasses, plants, and shrubs—not starchy, low-fiber grain. When they are switched from pasture to grain, they can become afflicted with a number of disorders. Conventional farmers often give their animals chemical additives along with a constant, low-level dose of antibiotics. Some of these antibiotics are the same ones used in human medicine. When medications are overused in the feedlots, bacteria becomes resistant to them. When people become infected with these new, disease-resistant bacteria, there are fewer medications available to treat them.
Better Quality of Life for the Farmers: Farmers who raise their animals on pasture enjoy a number of benefits including being able to raise their families in a peaceful environment and eat nutritious, all-natural food. Farmers who raise grass-fed animals in a clean environment are also spared the health hazards associated with factory farming.
Leahey Farm also takes pride in its stewardship of the land. Raising animals on pasture requires more knowledge and skill than sending them to a feedlot. For example, in order for grass-fed beef to be succulent and tender, the cattle, and calves, need to forage on high-quality grasses especially in the months prior to slaughter. Providing this nutritious and natural diet requires healthy soil and careful pasture management so that the plants are maintained at an optimal stage of growth.
In sum, Leahey Farm strives to produce healthy, nutritious meat, treat the environment sustainably, help reduce the use of hormones, antibiotics and other drugs, and treat the animals humanely.