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2024 CSA shares are SOLD OUT!  If you are still interested in purchasing meat please contact @email

The Stockbridge Livestock Program was established in 2015 with a mission of educating the next generation of regenerative livestock farmers and providing the campus with a source of locally produced meat. Located at the Agricultural Learning Center (ALC) and working in collaboration with the UMass Student Farm, this program gives students hands-on experience working with a variety of farm animals. Students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience raising small livestock animals either as part of our Farm Program Courses, through STOCKSCH 269 "Small Farm Husbandry: Pigs & Poultry," or our year long class STOCKSCH 390 “Livestock Marketing and Finance,” both taught by Nicole Burton, Director of our Stockbridge Livestock Program. When animals aren’t on our farm, Burton offers a ruminant course “STOCKSCH 268,” where the majority of the education comes from visiting other farm’s sheep, goats and cows. All animals are provided environments that allow them to exhibit their natural behaviors while improving the health of our farm land. Integrative and regenerative models used in our livestock program provide real world examples for our students who aim to be the next generation of land stewards that the sustainable agriculture movement needs right now. We market our meat products through a winter Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, retail, and wholesale to UMass Dining services.

As an addition to our successful vegetable-based CSA program, the UMass Student Farm collaborated with the Stockbridge Livestock Program to start a small meat-based CSA in 2021, focused on poultry, pork, lamb and beef. Our limited supplies of farm fresh meat sell out quickly. Each year the decision of how the CSA is marketed is determined by the current class so each season is slightly different, but you can always assume there is a diversified selection of cuts and meats within a share. Monthly pick-ups are at the farm, on Fridays, February through May.

Have Questions?  Check out our Meat CSA FAQ.

Still have questions?  Contact Stockbridge Livestock Program director Nicole Burton at @email.

Our Animals

Sheep

Sheep in pasture

Each season, lambs are raised at the Agricultural Learning Center within a silvopasture system, as well as throughout the surrounding pastures. “Silvopasture” is an integrative system of livestock grazing under tree canopy.  This practice is one of the oldest forms of animal husbandry and has been used worldwide. This project began as a pilot program in collaboration with the UMass Carbon Farming Initiative to increase awareness of practices that could support the draw down of carbon from our atmosphere and into our soil. There is also a collaboration with the UMass Veterinarian and Animal Science Department (ANSCI) where we purchase Dorset sheep from the UMass Hadley Farm as well as the Umass Student Farm who manages the livestock in the summer months. 

The sheep are rotationally grazed in the silvopasture from April through October.  This rotation not only improves pasture quality but is also crucially important to maintain the health of the sheep. When working with the sheep, students learn how to set up electric net fencing, rotate the animals through pasture, handle the animals, take weight measurements, and load them into trailers. Through the livestock marketing and finance course, students also learn about items such as preparing sheep cut sheets, determining yields and the considerations necessary for fulfilling market needs.

Pigs

Pig

Our pigs are raised at the ALC as part of the grant-funded Woodland Pig Project, demonstrating a regenerative agriculture approach to swine management. Pigs are rotated through low-brush forested land, spending their days rooting and clearing their habitat. A blend of pasture grass is then spread onto the newly cleared land with a long-term goal in mind of creating a new healthy pasture on what was once an abandoned woodlot. This project gives students the opportunity for hands-on work with pigs: training piglets on the fencing, learning how to set up and take down poly wire electric fencing, moving, feeding, and watering pigs, and maintaining their overall comfort, health, and happiness!


Chickens

Chickens

All of our poultry arrive as day-old chicks from a National Poultry Improvement Program Certified hatchery. We typically chose two different breeds to enable the students to compare typical broiler breeds to a non conventional breed. Our chickens are pasture-raised and rotated in student-made shelters at the ALC. Here, their diet consists of foraged bugs and plants in fallow vegetable fields/pastures. They are also fed locally sourced milled grain. This practice allows added health benefits to the meat which include higher levels of vitamins A and D, higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, and less saturated fat than chickens raised in a commercial setting. At the end of the season, Stockbridge Livestock students are taught how to process the poultry on our self-built mobile processing unit.

Turkeys

Bronze Broad Breasted turkeys are raised, processed, and marketed by students in our program for Thanksgiving sales to the campus community. Our turkeys are pasture-raised, rotated throughout the farm’s fallow fields, and supplemented daily with locally grown grain and fresh water. Because their diet is rich in plant matter, pasture-raised turkeys have higher levels of vitamins A, D, and E, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. 

Students with turkey