Will Harris

 

Will Harris is a fourth generation cattleman, who tends the same land that his great-grandfather settled in 1866. Born and raised at White Oak Pastures, Will left home to attend the University of Georgia's School of Agriculture, where he was trained in the industrial farming methods that had taken hold after World War II. Will graduated in 1976 and returned to Bluffton where he and his father continued to raise cattle using pesticides, herbicides, hormones and antibiotics. They also fed their herd a high-carbohydrate diet of corn and soy.

 

These tools did a fantastic job of taking the cost out of the system, but in the mid-1990's Will became disenchanted with the excesses of these industrialized methods. They had created a monoculture for their cattle, and, as Will says, "nature abhors a monoculture." In 1995, Will made the audacious decision to return to the farming methods his great-grandfather had used 130 years before.

 

Since Will has successfully implemented these changes, he has been recognized all over the world as a leader in humane animal husbandry and environmental sustainability. Will is the immediate past President of the Board of Directors of Georgia Organics. He is the Beef Director of the American Grassfed Association, and was selected 2011 Business Person of the year for Georgia by the Small Business Administration.

 

Will lives in his family home on the property with his wife Yvonne. He is the proud father of three daughters, Jessi, Jenni, and Jodi. His favorite place in the world to be is out in pastures, where he likes to have a big coffee at sunrise and a 750ml glass of wine at sunset.

 


 

Brian Sapp


Brian knows good beef. Growing up on a caladium farm in Lake Placid, Florida, Brian threw himself into the study of agriculture and food production at a young age, eventually earning a B.S. in Food and Resource Economics, as well as a Masters in Animal Sciences from the University of Florida. During his studies, he also got the opportunity to work in several different roles at the university's meat processing center.

 

In 2008 Brian brought his wealth of knowledge to White Oak Pastures' brand new certified humane beef processing plant where he is in charge of day-to-day operations. Recently Brian's domain widened when he was put in charge of constructing the new White Oak Pastures poultry processing plant.

 


 

Jenni Harris

 

Jenni Harris, Will's middle daughter, is the fifth generation of the Harris family to tend cattle at White Oak Pastures. After living on the farm her entire life, Jenni went to Valdosta State University and earned a degree in Business Marketing, graduating in 2009. She remained intimately involved in the family business throughout her studies.

 

After graduating, Jenni set out to learn the industry. She moved to Atlanta where she interned at Buckhead Beef, a SYSCO company. She put in time in every department, from shipping and receiving to the cut shop, and was later hired to work as a sales associate.

 

In June of 2010 Jenni returned home to Early County to work for White Oak Pastures full time. As the marketing manager, Jenni travels the East Coast promoting her family’s grassfed beef and lamb and pastured poultry to distributors, retailers, and restaurateurs.

 


 

Justin Wiley

 

Justin "Buck" Wiley began working at White Oak Pastures in July of 2009. He was hired as a butcher and worked hard to prove himself until he was promoted to Beef Plant Manager. Buck takes pride in his work and in making our customers happy. He manages 38 employees and 35 head of cattle each day in the Red Meat Abattoir. He arrives at the plant early in the morning and is typically one of the last people to leave. He carries a lot of responsibility, but also has the pleasure of working with some of his best friends every day. He's a great guy, with a huge heart and a constant smile on his face. We couldn't be happier to have him as part of our work family!

 


 

Stokes Rodgers

 

Stokes Rodgers is White Oak Pastures Staff Accountant. Stokes was born and raised in Fitzgerald, Georgia, and graduated in 2012 from Valdosta State University with an Accounting degree.

 


 

John Benoit

 

John, White Oak Pastures Livestock Manager, is from Fitzgerald, Georgia. John attended Valdosta State University and has been at White Oak Pastures since December 2012.

 


 

 

Reid Harrison


Reid’s culinary career started after he decided to take a year off from college where he was on path to become a math teacher, until he took Calculus II. It was during this year off from school that Reid started working for Chef Paul Harpin (former personal chef to Mick Jagger as well as Elton John). It was here that his culinary passion was sparked and he decided to attend the famed Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Chicago.

 

Upon completion of the culinary program, Reid started as a cook in a large scale restaurant in the downtown loop of Chicago where his hard work and passion for good food landed him a position as a chef manager of his own corporate restaurant at the young age of 22 in the former Sears Tower (now Willis Tower).

 

In 2008, Reid found himself back in Macon, GA helping his grandparents manage their local health food store. It was here that Reid's passion for food started to focus on locally grown and sustainably produced goods.

 

Not being able to stay out of the kitchen for long, Reid soon found himself back in the food service industry. It was during this re-entrance to the culinary world that he began to hone his skills of all things culinary. Reid helped to open a local franchise, catered his own private events, preformed cooking demos at local farmer's markets, worked at one of middle Georgia's finest restaurants, and even helped to promote local community garden projects in order to help increase access to wholesome food.

 

It is Reid's love and passion not just for food, but where it comes from that inspires him to continually take care of and pride in the way he prepares and preserves the seasons harvest.

 


Amber Reece

 

Amber Reece, born in Adarisville, Georgia moved to White Oak Pastures in June of 2013. Before joining our team, she lived in Atlanta, working with the United States Federal Probation. After five years of living in the city, Amber decided to move south. Amber manages the egg candling and packaging, tallow soap making, hide tanning and leather making at White Oak Pastures. Amber is passionate about learning how to brain and protein tan grassfed beef, lamb and rabbit hides processed at the White Oak Pastures abattoir. She's looking forward to filling your home with furniture and decorations made from our hides, tallow candles, soap and eggs from our farm!

 


 

Jodi Harris Benoit

 

Jodi Harris Benoit, Will's youngest daughter, is the fifth generation of the Harris family to tend livestock at White Oak Pastures. Jodi has always played an active role in helping her dad and the cowboys work cattle each season. Jodi graduated from Valdosta State University and earned a degree in Speech Communication in 2012. After graduating, Jodi followed her dad's rule, working away from the farm for at least one year. She was a Support Coordinator for Professional Case Management Services of America. In this position, she was an advocate for adults with developmental disabilities. In January of 2014, Jodi began working full time at White Oak Pastures. As the Farm Events Manager, she is responsible for giving guided tours on the farm, in-house marketing, and planning various events.

 

 


 

 


 

Ryan Carnley

 

Ryan is a native of Georgia, born and raised just west of Atlanta. He grew up gardening with his grandfather and this cultivated in him a deep love of growing vegetables and an appreciation for doing things the way nature intended. He studied History and Political Science at Georgia State University, and apprenticed at Serenbe Farms before coming to join the White Oak Pastures organic farm.

 


 

Matthew Cantrell

 

Matthew Cantrell manages our sheep and goat production, coming to us from the great state of South Carolina. While his wife, Leah, and their four children are by far the most valuable assets he brings to White Oak Pastures, his varied vocational experience and wide ranging interests have appropriately rounded him out for his role on the farm. As a teenager, his dream jobs were in sustainable agriculture and teaching high school English. A long and winding, mightily pitted road marked with many diversions and detours eventually led him to a five-year stint as a teacher and finally two years' work on a small, diversified farm in Chester, South Carolina. His work there with Ossabaw Island Hogs and Nubian Goats spoiled him forever for the agrarian life, and he left the classroom for good. He swears though that managing a class full of teenagers has more in common with managing a pasture of sheep or goats than one might guess, characterized by similar challenges and rewards. In fact, Matthew finds that goats particularly are quite appreciative of poetry. So, if you happen to spy Matthew surrounded by a captive audience, chewing their cud, and wonder what on earth he is doing, chances are he is reciting his favorite poems by Wendell Berry or Robert Penn Warren. Or, he may just be checking in.

 


 

Aaron Lorenz 

Aaron is our Hog Production Manager.  Aaron is from Saint Petersburg, Florida. He studied at University of South Florida. Aaron’s connection to agriculture started through his interest in medicine and the connection between health and food systems. As he learned more, he was drawn into the farming lifestyle. He became involved in Community Supported Agriculture and then livestock farming.  Aaron manages the rapidly growing hog operation at White Oak Pastures. We have two separate breeding programs: our heritage breed crosses and our Iberian hogs. Aaron’s calm demeanour helps him work with our hogs in a low-stress manner. You can often find the hogs chasing his truck in our pasture because they are so excited for food. Aaron’s constant farm companion is his pitbull Rory who lives the farm dog high-life and loves blowing bubbles in mud puddles.

 


 

 

 

Bubba Jackson

 

Bubba started working at White Oak Pastures October 24th, 2013 boxing product in the cutting room. This job is tough physically and mentally. When he started he was really overwhelmed but kept his head up and kept a smile on his face. He worked as hard as he could trying to make sure all of the orders were correct and did everything he could from the cutting room to better the business. About a year and a half later Bubba was promoted to a head position over the cutting room and loved it. He had that position for about 6 months before he got his next promotion!  These days Bubba is manager on the dock where he makes sure all the White Oak Pastures product reaches the correct destination. Bubba loves to work and will do whatever he can to make the company succeed. Sometimes he feels like he lives here but he wouldn't want it any other way. Bubba loves his job and loves the people he works with.

 

 


 

Sabrina Carnley

 

Sabrina moved down to Bluffton from Atlanta in October of 2014 when she married Ryan Carnley, the organic vegetable farm manager. It wasn't until November of 2015 that she started working on the farm helping with the online store and helping with the whole sale program. Sabrina has learned so much about what animal welfare truly means and what eating organic means and why it's important. She looks forward to continuing to grow and learn with White Oak Pastures.

 


 

Felicia Brown

 

Lisa is from Blakely GA, born and raised, but now lives in Arlington GA. Lisa began working at White Oak Pastures in 2012 in the processing room of the poultry plant. Lisa became the poultry plant manager in 2016.

 


 

Tim Hauber

 

Timothy Hauber, born in Hollywood, FL, moved to Georgia in the mid 90's. After spending many years in the construction business, he decided to break out and start his own construction company in the early 2000's. After the economy tanked, he decided to take the extra time to go to college. In 2014 while he was wrapping up his Bachelors, Tim and his wife (of 15 years) and 2 children moved out to Lake George (30 miles from Bluffton), and met up with an old friend, and White Oak Pastures Livestock Manager, named John Benoit.

John invited him to come check out White Oak Pastures and see some of what makes this farm special, and during that visit was offered a job by Mr. Will that he just couldn't refuse, and has been here since.

As the Construction and Maintenance Manager, he manages the fence crew, the mechanic shop, the welders, and the carpentry crew, as well as using his architectural background to design and build a little of the what makes this farm unique. Anything from designing and constructing obstacles for our 5K Ruff-Runs to repurposing module builders into chicken houses to building custom trailers into mobile turkey roosts.

 


 

   

 

Jeff Lackey
 
Jeff Lackey is our Poultry Production Manager. Jeff has been heavily involved in regenerative and multi-species agriculture, including mushroom farming, non-native invasive plant management, and perennial food production. Jeff comes by way of Pennsylvania but has also worked in South Africa, Kenya and Honduras. He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering and a MS in Biomedical Engineering.  We look forward to the expertise he will bring to the farm as we continue to strive to make this a better place for our animals, our people, and our community.
 

 

Laura Mortelliti


Laura is from Upstate New York. She received her B.S, from Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences where she double majored in Animal Science and Natural Resources. Laura worked for several years as a farm intern and wildlife technician before deciding to pursue her lifelong passion of photography. She studied in the graduate program of Multimedia, Photography and Design at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications. Laura is excited for the chance to combine her love of agriculture and photography together to produce media for White Oak Pastures.