The Grand Olde Breed
Regional Affiliate of the American Highland Cattle Association (AHCA)
Sarah Balmforth Memorial Leadership Award
Sarah Balmforth is remembered for her outstanding abilities in the handling, breeding, and showmanship of Highland Cattle, and especially for her role as a mentor to AHCA Juniors.
The Sarah Balmorth Memorial Selection Committee annually selects one AHCA Junior who embodies Sarah's humble, can-do attitude, and hardworking demeanor. Sarah, you are incredibly missed by the NEHCA and AHCA community, your light was taken far before it's time.
Sarah continues to live on in the hearts and spirit of NEHCA breeders and her community that she so deeply touched. In January 2021, the construction of the Sarah Balmforth Memorial Animal Shelter at Friends of Exeter Animals was announced, and the shelter opened in the Summer of 2021.
The excerpt below, from Sarah's Wildflower Farm website, fully embodies Sarah's love for the Highland breed, livestock biodiversity, & local Rhode Island agriculture.
You are a light Sarah. You were tragically taken, but not forgotten. Thank you for all your hard work, devotion to the Highland breed, mentorship to many NEHCA Juniors, furthering agricultural biodiversity, & your passion for supporting sustainable agriculture.
"Local Meats Raised at the Naturally Right Pace" I practice sustainable farming through the rotational grazing and forage feeding of swine, Highland cattle, free-range poultry, and other breed types. Heritage breeds are the hardiest under these practices but I also introduce supplemental breeding in livestock production to promote highbred vigor. Our animals are protected by guard flock dogs (that come from numerous backgrounds and have found a second chance on the farm). The land is worked with a combination of machines and old-school methods.
As a young female farmer, everyone slightly thinks I am mad to attempt to own my own farm, however, it is my personal goal to keep my farming life ideals and promote a better free life in such a busy world: to bring new life to old Rhode Island agriculture. The farm should be self-sustainable, I work the land and I have a deep connection with the livestock and operation. I refuse to work an outside job to support the farm life. Rhode Island has so many energies that can be embraced for such a small and sustainable homesteading that is unique to the land and animals that make the entire system.
Wild Flower Farm mostly practices direct sales so that the consumer is face-to-face and promise of a handshake away from the producer. The land must be healthy to give all our animals the best low-stress lives possible and the natural real-world farming I strive for. The focus practiced is a co-dependence between the land, farmer, and animals that promises the freedom of life that can be lost in the rush of today!
Localization of our breeding, sales, and practices is based around the Rhode Island atmosphere, but more specifically the management plan that depends on the needs and recourses of the farmland and the entire biomass of our specific system. This produces progressive cultivation, sustainable existence, and constantly profitable farm equilibrium within the real ability of the supporting network. Simply: " Local Meats Raised at the Natural Pace." Eat good, Sleep deeply, Live fully but most of all open your eyes and see all the wonder in the wild-life through all the frustrations it is a new day and, it's unfolding as it's meant to. Expect real capabilities and make the most of all the riches of the land without taking more than you can give back. Eat Highland Beef :)"
Email Sarah Balmforth Memorial Leadership Award nominations to NEHCA Junior Leader: Laura McDowell-May