We believe it's very important that our family eats products that are raised in a healthy and safe environment. What better way to do that than to do it all yourself, on your own farm? Not everyone can grow their own food but we think it's very important to be able to reassure people that food they buy is raised with extra care. To be able to trust what you eat and know the people who grow it for you gives you that extra bit of reassurance.
In order to raise our animals in a safe environment, we've completed all three levels of the BC Pork Protocol Enhancement Plan, which includes bio-security, environmental and animal welfare components. This way we minimize the threat of any unwanted disease entering our barns and we can be sure that we are raising our animals in the best environment we can, while being respectful of the area that we farm in. Our farm has been Canadian Quality Assurance (CQA) certified since 2005 which is a programme designed to enhance food safety and animal care. We care about the environment. In 2004 we implemented an Environmental Farm Plan that gives us direction to work as good stewards of the land and environment at our farm.
The hogs we raise are in climate controlled barns so they stay healthy. All the rooms in our barns have windows so the hogs can enjoy natural light. They can eat when they want because it's always available to them and therefore there is comradery amongst our animals. Dominant and less dominant hogs in the group can eat after each other preventing 'bickering' for food that may occur when animals want to eat at the same time. The feeders in our barns are called "wet dry feeders" and they give our hogs an option to eat the way they want. They can eat pellets first and drink after or they can make porridge and eat it their meal 'wet', whatever they prefer. Every hog is different and we give them as much flexibility as possible.
The food we feed our hogs is tailored to their needs and contains a mix of grains and vegetables, such as wheat, barley and peas. Their feed is manufactured to the highest standards at a local HACCP approved feed mill where they have an in-house quality control program to ensure a consistent, high quality feed.
We are in the barns with our animals every day and many times throughout a day. Our animal's health, welfare and comfort are very important to us. If any of them do get sick we contact our veterinarian who will diagnose the problem and come up with a treatment plan. This way we only use medication when it is absolutely necessary and every treatment is recorded. We always keep our animals well beyond the medication withdrawal date to ensure a safe end product to the consumer.
As a further step in ensuring our animals are well cared for during moving and transportation, we have successfully completed courses held by the BC Farm Animal Care Council for Hog Handling & Behaviour and hold Certified Livestock Transporter certification.
At Verard Farms we also have some sheep, that give us the joy of having little lambs running around in the spring, and we have a small flock of free range chickens that provide us with fresh eggs every day, which we also sell.
We love the farm life and the fact that we don't have to think twice when we dive into the freezer for our next meal. We look forward to sharing this experience with you when you visit us at Verard Farms. We hope to see you soon!