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Local Herd Earns Green Certification

Pasture is good for animals, us, and the environment
Photo of horse by Emily Hague

The former farmland on the west side of Route 32 in Swanzey, N.H., has long since been built up with houses, but you can still find 20 acres of open pasture on the east. The Belding Farm conservation land is home to a variety of grazing animals. It’s a modern example of how conservation land can be used beneficially.

Here you can find Mike Johnson’s rescued mares and a mini horse plus Victoria Reck Ames’ three oxen and part of her American Milking Devon cattle herd as summer residents.

“People love to stop and give treats to Mike’s horses,” says Victoria, who owns the farmland that also includes 10 acres of forest and nearly a half mile of frontage on the South Branch of the Ashuelot River.

“For many, it's their only opportunity to get close to large animals. The horses linger by the stout wooden part of the fence near the gate, just in case someone stops by with something delicious. The oxen tend to stay on the back part of the parcel, where they can tuck into the shrubs.”

Victoria was recently recognized for her leadership in animal husbandry and commitment to sustainability. She uses rotational grazing practices and sustainable farming techniques, which result in lower environmental impact, improved soil health and fertility, and higher quality livestock.

Her herd of registered American Milking Devon cattle, which live most of the time at the LCIP-conserved Honey Hill Farm down the road, is now Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World.

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The former farmland on the west side of Route 32 in Swanzey, N.H., has long since been built up with houses, but you can still find 20 acres of open pasture on the east. The Belding Farm conservation land is home to a variety of grazing animals. It’s a modern example of how conservation land can be used beneficially.