What is Regeneratively Raised?

cows in a pasture

Regenerative Farming is in our nature.

At Hickory Nut Gap, we have been practicing sustainable farming for well over twenty years – long before the word “regenerative” was popularly used. Regenerative farming is a complex system, because nature is complex, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be difficult to understand. At our farm, our practices are based on one simple idea: to restore and heal our entire farming ecosystem through sustainable and fair treatment of both our land and animals.

The happiness of our animals is one of our top priorities as a regenerative farm. We ensure that our cows, pigs, and chickens all have a high-quality of life. We do this through our grass-fed and pasture-raised beliefs: our animals live their entire lives with the ability to roam outdoor fields, breathe clean air, and forage the healthiest foods. This ensures happier and healthier animals.

Through planned rotational grazing, we ensure that our grass has the best nutrients for our animals.

Our scientific approach to regenerative farming consists of more than just healthier and happier animals – it’s also about restoring health to our soil by sequestering carbon within it. This is achieved through something called planned rotational grazing, a way to manage grass growth within pastures, ensuring enough carbon is stored in the soil to benefit both the forage and our animals. This is now being built on a measurable component of regenerative farming, Ecological Outcome Verification (EOV). EOV allows us and all our partner farmers to achieve measurable, consistent results with both our pastures and our animals. We were also recently certified as a Savory Institute Hub, permitting us to teach and guide other farms on how to implement the practices of EOV.

Ultimately, our ecosystem is an intentional connection that honors and respects the planet, our animals, and our farmers. Everything we do works to serve each of these pillars.

Our Regeneratively Raised label claim signifies that we are committed to a different path forward for the food system.

We recently received approval from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to add “Regeneratively Raised” to our food labels! What does this mean, exactly? Essentially, our new label claim verifies that we are committed to farming practices that reduce carbon emissions and improve soil quality. It’s a sign that we’re making our mark in regenerative farming, but it doesn’t stop here.

Regenerative farming is a relationship with people too! Since our animals consume high-quality forage, closer to what nature intended, we are able to provide you with high-quality products that are packed with nutrients. At our farm in Fairview, NC, we also make our own animal feed for our pigs and chickens. We purchase whole grains such as corn, wheat, barley, and soybean meal, and use our tractor-powered hammer mill to grind and mix the non-GMO feed. This ensures that both our pork and poultry receive all the vitamins and nutrients they need, as well as the added benefits of the forage they graze.

Ecological Outcome Verification (EOV) is a measurable component of regenerative farming. This is what allows us and our partner farmers to achieve measurable, consistent results with both our pastures and our animals.

Our pigs are especially happy to lounge, graze, and “root” in our pastures. By digging their snouts into the ground – an action called rooting – they can access starchy weeds, delicious and healthy for them, while also helping us to rid our pastures of invasive species!

While a nutrient-rich diet promises for healthier animals, we also make sure that our animals are treated fairly and humanely. We proved them with ample pasture space to roam, run, and forage, allowing them to live their lives as active, happy animals. With the right diet and the right lifestyle, our animals are both healthier and happier, producing great tasting, high-quality meat.

This is what also allows us to produce meats superior in flavor. Not only does regenerative farming give you more nutritious options, but it also gives you tastier options – it’s a win-win situation!

Regenerative farming comes full circle: we work to improve the land, the land improves the livelihood of the animals, and the animals provide us with meat that improves our own health. We do this while also taking into consideration our animals’ quality of life, which also increases the quality of meat that you consume. Ultimately, Regeneratively Raised is much more than a label – it reflects our decades-long dedication to sustainable farming and animal welfare, and it’s an active choice to improve farming practices that can help restore entire ecosystems.

Our 100% grass-fed and pasture-raised meats are both healthier and tastier thanks to our regenerative farming practices.

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