U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) is re-releasing its video series highlighting environmental stewardship on poultry and egg farms. The first video in the series features Bar G Ranch Poultry, in Rogers, Texas, and the second video features Cooley Farms, of Roberta, Ga. Both farms are recipients of USPOULTRY’s Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award, which recognizes exemplary environmental stewardship by family farms engaged in poultry and egg production. Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award winners are rated in several categories, including dry litter or liquid manure management, nutrient management planning, community involvement, wildlife enhancement techniques, innovative nutrient management techniques and participation in education or outreach programs.
Bar G Ranch Poultry, owned and operated by Darrell and Shannon Glaser, consists of 500 acres in which turkeys are raised on behalf of Cargill Turkey Production, LLC. The farm also raises cattle and produces forage. Recognizing the potential environmental benefits of litter as an organic fertilizer, Darrell and Shannon added four turkey brooder houses from 1994 to 1996 with the expectation that it would help them save a struggling farm that had been in the family for over 100 years. As hoped, the litter produced by the turkey operation, coupled with responsible management of nutrients in the litter, has restored productivity to the pasture and forage land to a level that now supports a beef cattle operation as well.
Cooley Farms, owned and operated by Larry and Leighton Cooley, has more than 1,050 acres of land on which chickens and cattle are raised and hay is grown. The farm began operating in 1985 on 70 acres of land with two broiler houses. Over the years, the farm operation grew and evolved, specifically in the area of chicken production. Today, Cooley Farms raises approximately 500,000 chickens per flock on behalf of Perdue Farms, which equates to three million chickens per year in their 18 poultry houses. Litter management is an important part of farm management for the Cooley’s. The farm uses detailed record-keeping to implement precise nutrient management plans. The litter is applied to the land and hay fields at rates needed to maintain appropriate nutrient levels in the soil, and the remainder is sold to other farms.