Will Harris

Rancher and farmer, White Oak Pastures

Will Harris runs the Georgia farm that his family has operated since 1866–5 generations. His greatest accomplishment has been returning it to the environmentally sustainable and high animal welfare farming system that it was prior to America’s post-World War II farm centralization, commoditization, and industrialization. The operation is again the vertically integrated and diversified pasture-based production model that his great-grandfather utilized.

After receiving his Animal Science degree from the University of Georgia, Will returned home to produce calves, in a monoculture, for long distance shipment to the western industrial feedlots where commodity beef is produced. Confinement feeding of corn, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, sub-therapeutic usage of antibiotics, and hormone implants were key to this program.

In 1995, Will began transitioning his operation into the vertically integrated, pastured, multi-species livestock farm that it is today. Today cattle, sheep, hogs, goats, and 5 poultry species are rotated through his pastures in the Serengeti Plains Rotational Grazing Model. All of these animals are hand butchered on the family farm where they were raised.

In 2007 Will built a USDA-inspected, zero-waste, red meat abattoir on the farm. It is state of the art, one of only two in the country, and is operating at full capacity of 150+ head per week. In 2010, Will built a USDA-inspected zero-waste poultry abattoir on the farm. It is now processing over 6000 birds per week. No other farm in the U.S.A. both a USDA inspected red meat plant and USDA inspected poultry processing plant.

Over 30% of the energy needs of the plants come from solar panels. The beef, goat, & lamb are certified grassfed. The farm is USDA Certified Organic. Both processing plants are Animal Welfare Approved. Certified Humane Pastured eggs and USDA certified organic vegetables are now produced on the farm. The farm has over 100 full time employees, many of which live on the farm, that all enjoy lunch together every day in the on-farm restaurant that was built in 2012.

Compost, biodiesel, charcuterie, and soap are made from products that might have otherwise been wasted. Southern farm culture is celebrated. Environmental Sustainability and Humane Stockmanship are practiced and taught. Cabins and the restaurant are available on the farm for guests to lodge and dine and learn.

The farm has truly come full circle in the 150 years since it was established. Visitors are welcomed.