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Dragonfly Farm in Mequon is now Animal Welfare Approved, a certification which indicates animals are raised according to high animal welfare standards.

The AWA certification also identifies independent family farmers are using agricultural methods that are sustainable, according to a news release.

Mark and Cheryl Brickman, owners of Dragonfly Farm, pursued the certification to verify they were raising their animals the best they could, according to the highest welfare standards.

"I always knew we ran a pretty good operation, but I also welcomed the guidance from the audit, and the opportunity to improve," Cheryl Brickman said.

She added the AWA label shows buyers the hens and geese are taken care of "from beginning to end."

The release said this environment allows the birds at Dragonfly Farm to perform their natural behaviors.  It continues, saying this produces healthier eggs which can contain three times as much vitamin E, seven times more beta-carotene, and twice the omega-3 fatty acids as standard, industrial eggs.

Cheryl Brickman said the birds are on the pasture close to 365 days a year, weather permitting.

"Being out on pasture gives them a really diverse and healthy diet," she said.  "Our eggs are amazingly tasty and nutritious since they have access to a natural diet and high-quality feed, supplemented with fresh garden produce."

According to the official AWA website, the current food system is "broken."  It says the program was founded in 2006 "as a market-based solution to the growing consumer demand for meat, eggs and dairy products from animals treated with high welfare and managed with the environment in mind."

"The accountability and integrity offered by Animal Welfare Approved farmers like Cheryl and Mark are unmatched in food production," said AWA Program Director Andrew Gunther.  "We're glad to have Dragonfly Farm in the AWA family."

The AWA pasture-raised eggs from Dragonfly Farm are available direct from them. Call 262-238-0208 or email the farm at dragonflyfarm@wi.rr.com for more information and availability.

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