A Comprehensive Educational Program to Teach Farmers and Other Agricultural Professionals How to Produce and Market Free-Range Poultry

Project Overview

LNC99-147
Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 1999: $60,500.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2000
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Coordinator:
Linda Lee
Resilience

Annual Reports

Commodities

  • Animals: poultry

Practices

  • Animal Production: housing, parasite control, animal protection and health, grazing - continuous, feed formulation, free-range, feed rations, manure management, grazing - multispecies, pasture fertility, grazing - rotational, watering systems
  • Education and Training: demonstration, display, farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, new enterprise development, marketing management, value added
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, employment opportunities

    Abstract:

    A total of 350 farmers and their supporting agency personnel attended half-day interactive seminars that were conducted at nine different sites throughout the North Central region. Five three-day participatory workshops were conducted at Locust Grove Farm in Southern Ohio; 41 individuals attended the workshops as part of this project. A broadcast quality video, Free-Range Poultry Production and Marketing, was produced and utilized at the seminars. Three hundred participants received a copy of the video and the companion manual, Free-Range Poultry Production and Marketing: A Guide to Raising, Processing, and Marketing Premium Quality Chicken, Turkey & Eggs, plus a subscription to the journal, Free-Range Poultry Forum. The educational materials have also been presented to at least one sustainable agriculture organization and a sustainable agriculture extension office in each of the North Central states.

    Objectives:
    1. Farmers and other agriculture professionals were trained to produce, process and market free-range poultry, both chickens and turkeys.
    2. A video, Free-Range Poultry Production and Marketing, was produced, which gives an overview of the American Free-Range system developed at Locust Grove Farm.

    Methods/Approach:
    1. To disseminate information widely about the Free-Range Poultry Production, Processing and Marketing System, half-day interactive seminars were conducted at nine different locations throughout the NC SARE region.
    2. Five workshops were conducted at Locust Grove Farm in southern Ohio. In each three-day comprehensive workshop, students participated in both field and classroom experiences that included poultry slaughter in an on-farm facility.
    3. An educational video, Free-Range Poultry Production and Marketing, was produced, which provides information valuable to farmers interested in producing and marketing poultry raised on range. The video highlights the differences between the “pastured poultry” system and the free-range system. Regardless of the production method chosen by the farmer the video is relevant and informative about feed rations, processing and marketing.
    4. Three hundred participants received a copy of the video and the companion manual, Free-Range Poultry Production and Marketing: A Guide to Raising, Processing and Marketing Premium Quality Chicken, Turkey and Eggs, plus a subscription to the journal, Free-Range Poultry Forum: The Journal of Producing, Processing and Marketing Premium Quality Chicken, Turkey and Eggs.
    5. A copy of the manual and the video plus a journal subscription were presented to a state sustainable agriculture extension office and to a sustainable agriculture organization in each of the 12 NCR SARE states.

    Results:

    Three hundred fifty farmers and their supporting agency personnel attended the half-day seminars. Sixty scholarships were granted and 41 students participated in the three-day workshops.
    Impacts and Potential Contributions:
    1. Free-range poultry production is a site-specific, integrated farming system.
    2. Free-range is a sustainable way to produce human food over the long term.
    3. Free-ranging poultry enhance the environment as they naturally spread their manure. On-farm processing and composting of eviscerate and dead birds add to the efficient integration of on-farm biological resources.
    4. Direct marketing the premium product, free-range poultry, is an opportunity to enhance the economic viability of the individual farm operation.
    5. The quality of rural life is enhanced by the opportunity for self-employment.
    6. Human health and safety is protected in many ways due to the smaller scale of this method of poultry production. One obvious way is that hand evisceration of poultry (the method taught at Locust Grove Farm) is less likely to spill intestinal contents onto the meat.
    7. This method promotes enterprise diversity and the well being of animals.

    Project objectives:

    1. Farmers and their supporting agency personnel were trained to produce, process and market free-range poultry, both chickens and turkeys. Seminars and workshops were designed and conducted to teach farmers and others the American Free-Range Poultry System with emphasis on the holistic approach utilized at Locust Grove Farm.

    2. Educational materials were created and disseminated to enhance the training. A video, Free-Range Poultry Production and Marketing, was produced, which gives an overview of the free-range system developed and utilized at Locust Grove Farm. Included in the video is information about the other grass based poultry methods currently used in the United States. This tool was used throughout the NC SARE region to introduce farmers and other agricultural professionals to the concept of raising poultry on grass with emphasis on the free-range poultry system. The video is a companion to the manual, Free-Range Poultry Production, Processing and Marketing: A Guide to Raising, Processing, and Marketing Premium Quality Chicken, Turkey and Eggs, by Herman Beck-Chenoweth, the text upon which the workshops are based. Three hundred seminar and workshop participants received a copy of the manual, the video and a one-year subscription to the Free-Range Poultry Forum: The Journal of Producing, Processing and Marketing Premium Quality Chicken, Turkey and Eggs. In addition, a copy of the video, the manual and a one-year subscription to the journal has been presented to a state sustainable agriculture extension office and to one sustainable agriculture organization per state throughout the NC SARE region.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.