What begins as a traumatizing experience for Emil and the farm at Organic Gardening and More in Moulton, TX has turned into a great success story that defies the odds in a number of ways. Emil and Mary Ann Owen originally purchased a caged laying hen farm in 2001. In 2006 the couple decided they could no longer deal with the pressures of the caged chicken business and halted caged production at the farm. Then in 2009, Emil underwent open heart surgery, and the doctors discovered he had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. At this point, the couple decided it was time for some serious changes in their life. In efforts to improve their lives, the Owens started growing their own organic fruits and vegetables. To complete their approach to Organic Gardening and More, they also decided to start raising organic laying hens.
The lifestyle change wasn’t only applicable to their lives, but also the way they raised their animals. The Owens have 30acres of pasture where they now raise approximately 670 Bovan Brown laying hens. Mary Ann says these beautiful birds may be described as “spoiled” by some, but they are good natured and sweet. The Owens often find themselves being followed by birds as they work around the farm. Perhaps the birds understand how fortunate they are to live on a Certified Humane® farm.
Emil and Mary Ann were referred to the Certified Humane® program by their organic certifier, who thought they would be a good fit for the program. Coincidentally, they had already started looking into Certified Humane®. “We wanted to join because we wanted the best for our hens!” explains Ms. Owen. After completing their inspection, the couple stated that “the inspection process was very thorough and also very rewarding.” The Owens are determined to do what is in the best interest for their laying hens and manage any obstacles; rising cost of feed and fuel, increase in supplies needed, and other challenges that come their way. Emil’s health has now fully recovered, as has the health of the farm since it is now a free-range laying hen operation.
The Owens couldn’t be happier with the outcome of Organic Gardening and More and eagerly share their humane values with their grandchildren.
Mary Ann Owens told us “For us, the return of being Certified Humane® has been so rewarding, from the knowledge and expertise we have received from your accrediting body, to the promotion our product receives; that has been worth the time and effort we put into meeting the standards.”
Please email Mary Ann at firstname.lastname@example.org, for up-to-date information on everything going on at Organic Gardening and More, including new crops and eggs available for purchase.
For information on where to find other Certified Humane® products in your area, visit the “Shop” page of HFAC’s website.