Saturday, August 11, 2012

Does Integrity Still Exist?...Perhaps...

There are days when I talk with my wife and have a momentary lapse of internal reckoning.  Today was one of them.  Debating about why we do what we do, she gave me a blunt reminder.  Ok, let me back up...

The conversation started with how expensive chicken/turkey/duck feed has gotten over the past 6 months.  Why are we spending so much money on feed?  Shipping, drought, whatever... It cost a boat load.  How many other farms slide by with cheap feed?  How many really care about what the heck a chicken eats?  An egg is an egg, a chicken is a chicken, right?  Does it really matter what feed they eat, if they eat grass and are on pasture?   Answer: Yes it does.

So I'm getting frustrated at the cost of raising chickens for eggs and Nicole reminds me of the why's.  Ah, the joys of marriage.  You need that kick in the pants sometimes, but it still drives you crazy.  However, not taking short cuts defines who we are.  The people and the families we serve, trust us to do right, no matter what. 

So my question really is an internal one, more than anything.  The constant battle of right and wrong, profit and loss, all depend on what you are willing and more importantly, not willing to do.  Do you really know what is in the food you eat?  What it was fed or sprayed?  WE do and ALL farmers do. The bottom line is, we've seen what happens when you don't know.  We aren't willing to go down that road again, and we aren't willing to allow anyone within our means to go down it either.

So the expense of Certified Organic feed is worth it to us.  The parents and children that come to our farm (many who are sick) depend on us for healthy, clean food, which make it worth the expense.  There's no second option, only regret for a bad decision. 

As far as our feed goes, I know who produces it, and I know their integrity.  They work very close with us on special feed blends.  Their feed is good.  So good that it sprouts when it's accidentally dropped on the ground from feeding animals in the pasture.  What these animals eat is alive - not a lab creation, not programed to die after harvest, and not an "almost" food, aka GMO.  No, our feed is the real deal, as God intended. 

Anyway, sorry for unloading, but maybe this will inspire you to ask your farmer, "What do you feed your animals?"



  1. good unload! keep it up!

  2. Surely understand the dilemma of rising production costs vs. integrity...but I, for one, count on your vigilant, continuing and dedicated integrity...and will pay you fairly for it! I am "voting" this economy with my dollars...and would rather pay you as much as you need rather than the doctors AFTER my body is inundated with products it doesn't recognize as "food." Thank you every day for what your provide this community!

  3. Keep doing what you are doing!! I agree, integrity seems to be waning in society but your family is doing something absolutely wonderful for so many others and you are surely inspiring other farmers to grow "real" food again. Your son's story was so inspiring to our family last year and I just came back to catch up and see how things were going. If we lived in the same country as you we'd be customers :)
    Keep fighting the good fight!

  4. Hey, I found you while looking for a farm where my parents could buy healthy foods in that area of GA. But I saw this post and wanted to share some info on reducing chicken feed costs without compromising.

    I read these two items from Paul Wheaton about growing things that chickens can harvest to feed themselves (most of which can be used by the family too) and the benefits of doing this within a paddock system. I was inspired. And I was reminded of what my Granny told me when I asked her what she and Grandpa used to feed their chickens. She said, "You don't actually have *feed* them anything. They can feed themselves if you have the right land."

    We are looking forward to incorporating some of these ideas in the next few years. We already free-range our flock, this would just be taking it one step further. So I have been doing my homework and compiling a list of plants that we can add, or we already have, that would work for this purpose. Now I am trying to organize the list according to what time of year the chicken-edible part of the plant will be ready. Then I will decide which parts of the farm would best benefit from housing the chickens at which times of the year (the orchard in early spring and late fall for insect control and cleanup, for example) and match up the right plants from the list with the right paddock and time of year.

    I don't know if this info will be useful for you and your farm but thought I would share, just in case.

  5. Would you mind sharing the name of the feed you use?

  6. Hi Kristen,

    Sure, it's Coyote Creek Organic Feed mill out of Texas. Thanks