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pastured poultry press release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 2/8/00
PASTURED POULTRY EXPANSION IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM
A free report describing the experiences of 35 Southern farm
families who participated in a project to produce and market
pastured poultry is available from Appropriate Technology Transfer
for Rural Areas (ATTRA).
Titled "Pastured Poultry," the 40-page report focuses on events
from 1996-99 of the project, "Integration of Pastured Poultry
Production Into The Farming Systems of Limited Resource Farmers."
The report is chock full of information useful to farmers
considering pastured poultry as an enterprise. Included are
firsthand accounts of participating farmers and data on the
intricacies of pen-building, brooding, feeding, processing,
marketing, legal matters, economics, and a host of other topics.
The project was conducted by Heifer Project International (HPI),
along with the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT),
which manages ATTRA. It was funded by the USDA Sustainable
Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program.
The Salatin model
"The project employed the methods of Joel Salatin, author of
Pastured Poultry Profits:
Net $25,000 in 6 Months on 20 Acres," says Anne Fanatico of NCAT,
outreach coordinator for the project. "Features of pastured
poultry include keeping the chickens in field pens that are moved
daily to fresh pasture and feeding non-medicated feed. Farmers
capture profits by adding value through on-farm slaughter and
direct marketing to local customers."
Over the course of the project, HPI and other project cooperators
provided about 40 hands-on training sessions throughout the South.
Several landgrant universities (Southern, Kentucky State, South
Carolina State, Florida A&M, and Fort Valley State) were involved
through demonstration sites or Extension agents who helped provide
technical support to pastured poultry producers in their areas.
An important development of the project was formation of the
American Pastured Poultry Producers Association (APPPA). With a
current membership of 400 people, APPPA publishes a quarterly
newsletter called Grit! and serves as a networking tool for
"Limited resource farmers need agricultural enterprises that will
allow them to start small and gradually build the operation as
needed, without incurring substantial debt," Fanatico says.
"Pastured poultry increases pasture fertility through manure
deposition and integrates well with cattle or sheep production.
However, pastured poultry is a high-labor enterprise, profits may
not be high initially for small-scale start-ups, and beginners have
a lot to learn about brooding, production on pasture, and
Marketing the birds was not a problem for the producers. According
to Kentucky farmers Albert and Sheila Baker, "This year we plan on
growing at least 200 chickens. Most people, once they tasted our
chicken, placed orders for more."
Don Wilkinson of South Carolina says, "The project has been almost
fun the whole way along-one of the few agricultural enterprises
I've tried that I can say that of."
As an outgrowth of the project, HPI and NCAT have launched another
SARE project to address bottlenecks for expanding range poultry
"Many producers are happy to stay at a small-scale level of pastured
poultry production but others involved in the project see great
potential for commercializing range poultry production on a larger
scale to reach more consumers and generate more profits," Fanatico
She explains that a lack of access to government-inspected
processing facilities is a major bottleneck for the range poultry
industry. Since the plants owned by large integrated poultry
companies do not serve independent producers, some producers
establish their own processing plants. Government-inspected mobile
processing units (MPUs) are an option that HPI will examine to help
spread the risk of investment and serve cooperative groups of
farmers. HPI plans to develop MPU prototypes in Kentucky, Alabama,
Another bottleneck is a lack of business training for many farmers.
When a substantial investment is needed, business planning,
feasibility work and marketing plans become crucial.
According to Luke Elliott, an Arkansas pastured poultry producer
and owner of a small USDA-inspected processing plant, "It can be
easy to market your first 1000-1500 birds directly off the farm.
People actually seek you out and come to the farm. Beyond that, it
is important to develop a marketing plan, to work with other
producers, and to make certain of the legality of your situation."
Under the new project titled "Enhancing Feasibility for Range
Poultry Expansion," NCAT is partnering with HPI to develop a
feasibility toolbox to address these needs-the toolbox will be
available to farmers in the future.
As a kick-off for assessing the needs of producers and associates
interested in expanding range poultry production, NCAT has prepared
a survey about such topics as the needs for feasibility, obtaining
reliable poultry stock and feed/nutritional needs.
People wishing to participate in the survey or obtain a free copy
of "Pastured Poultry," please call ATTRA from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30
p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday
(Central Time Zone) at 800-346-9140.
To join the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association, send
$20 to APPPA, c/o Diane Kaufman, 5207 70th St., Chippewa Falls, WI
54729 (telephone: 715-723-2293, email: APPPA_Grit@yahoo.com).
For more information about HPI and NCAT, visit the websites:
www.heifer.org or www.ncat.org. Based at Little Rock, AR, HPI is
an international non-profit corporation dedicated to community
development through sustainable livestock production. NCAT, with
offices in Fayetteville, AR, is a national nonprofit organization
focusing on sustainable agriculture and rural community
development. NCAT's ATTRA program, a sustainable agriculture
information center, has a website at www.attra.org.
People interested in pastured poultry are also invited to contact
Anne Fanatico at NCAT/ATTRA; P.O. Box 3657; Fayetteville, AR
72701, 800-346-9140 or Steve Muntz at HPI, 110 North Maysville St.,
Suite 100, Mt. Sterling, KY 40353, 800-359-9581. ATTRA also
provides a general publication on sustainable chicken production.
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