From cattle showing to pet treats, Windmill Acres Farm-East keeps agriculture as a family priority

The Farm Family of the Day is sponsored by Tractor Supply Company and seeks to recognize and celebrate the state’s rich agricultural heritage and many farm families that are behind the state’s agriculture and agribusiness industry. One family is recognized each day of the Fair, either nominated themselves or by members of their community. Congratulations to the 2023 Farm Families!

Introducing the Farm Family of the Day for Wednesday, Oct. 18! Windmill Acres Farm-East is a fourth-generation cattle farm raising registered and purebred Hereford beef cattle in Forsyth County. Neil and Karen Fishel also produce show cattle for their three children and are entering the natural pet treat market by using byproducts from their beef.

“Neil had shown Hereford cattle since the 1970’s and we very much wanted our children to continue that tradition as well as have a childhood that provided them the amazing opportunities only found in farming and livestock production,” Karen said. “Our children have shown in local and National livestock shows, including the N.C. State Fair since they were very young.”

In 2020, the family noticed an incredible demand for locally grown meats and farm products. Since then, they have capitalized on that and in 2022, their beef sales quadrupled and show no signs of slowing. Windmill Acres Farm-East uses efficient practices and effective marketing strategies that has helped their products gain popularity in their community.

“We are a farm family. We are blessed to be able to keep agriculture as a priority in our family and we are committed to be good stewards with the gifts we have been given, land and wisdom,” Karen said.

One way that the Fishel family uses their operation to impact their community is by educating others on agriculture to dispel many misconceptions of the industry. The farm encourages customers to do a “farm pickup” so that they can see how the animals are raised and treated.

“I love the opportunity to tell our customers more about the product and our ethical standards on our farm. I also take opportunities in the spring to set up at a local strawberry farm to not only promote and sell but to educate others on our farm and the products we raise,” Karen said.

The Fishel family grew up in the cattle barn at the N.C. State Fair. From sharing meals to celebrating new lives and even grieving over losses, the friends that the family has made through the Fair have had a huge impact on their lives.

“Our children slept in wagons during shows and met their lifelong friends at the Fair,” Karen said. “We ‘adopted’ everyone’s kids in that barn as if they were our own and we cheered for them as well as consoled them when their ribbon was the dreaded “participant” ribbon. The N.C. State Fair holds so many treasured memories for our family and none of which include the rides or the games.”

Sometimes, something impacts your life to the point where you don’t want to think about the possibility of living without it. The N.C. State Fair and raising cattle are those things for the Fishel family. Windmill Acres Farm-East is a farm family with deep roots in North Carolina Agriculture, and they are proud of it.

If you see the family members of Windmill Acres Farm-East around the fairgrounds today, make sure to say hello! We are honored to have them as the Farm Family of the Day for October 18th. Thank you for your commitment to our state’s number one industry!

About Karsyn Westerbeek

Hi everybody! I am Karsyn Westerbeek, but you can call me Wolf Tracks. I am a rising senior at North Carolina State University where I major in Communication with a minor in Business Administration. I am from Warsaw, North Carolina, and have always been a fan of the Wolfpack. I absolutely love the State Fair and its ability to bring our community together. That being said, I am so excited to be working as a public relations intern for the State Fair this summer!

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