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3 questions with Danny Safrit, cattle farmer 

When topping off our shopping cart at the local market, most of us don't think twice about the origination or quality of the prepackaged livestock we place next to our ripe mangos and vintage bottle of wine. But Danny Safrit, co-farmer of DNA Farms in Concord, is mindful of where his dinner comes from. Safrit, who has been a farmer for a little over three decades, raises his livestock to be au naturel. "Anytime we can eliminate antibiotics, hormones and preservatives from our diet, it's a good thing," he says. Safrit is native to the Charlotte region and is dedicated to raising and distributing the best naturally grown beef possible.

Creative Loafing: How did you become a farmer? Were you raised on a farm?

Danny Safrit: Both my grandparents were small farmers. I learned most things related to farming from my dad. I remember when Dad had two cows. Over the years we have tried row crop farming, cattle and hogs. I became really active at about 14 or 15 and have been involved ever since. It's not like a job; it's something that gets in your blood. It's hard to put a finger on it. It's fulfilling, interesting and satisfying — never a dull moment. There's just something about seeing God's beauty so alive, growing in plants as well as livestock.

What kind of livestock do you raise on DNA Farms?

Aaron [my partner] has been in the chicken business for many years; myself, of course, I've been in the cattle business. With Concord becoming more of a city inside Charlotte, we had a desire to offer a product to our friends that can't be found easily. With that said, we raise cattle, layers [chicken egg] and about 150 broilers [chicken meat]. Currently, my dad, my son and I raise Beefmaster cattle. Aaron has eggs and a limited supply of broilers. Through a turn of events, myself and Aaron have taken on full-time employment at non-farm jobs; that, coupled with dogs getting to our laying hens and a couple of freezer failures, logically and financially we have had to scale back and review our future plans. Aaron will continue to have free range eggs, and I will have pastured beef. From there, I'm sure both of us will add to our products at a later date. We had set out to produce free range eggs, pastured poultry and turkey, free range hogs and pastured raised and finished beef. We raised turkey for two years but, like I said, we had to scale back this year. Turkeys are a tremendous amount of work, not to mention they eat like hogs.

Since you didn't raise any turkeys this year, where will you be getting your Thanksgiving Day turkey from?

My family and I will be visiting my sister in Alabama for Thanksgiving. I'm not really sure where that bird will originate from. Most occasions, however, we try to consume naturally grown and pastured livestock from our farm.

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