MAY/JUNE 2019 I NEWS & VIEWS I 3 > E N V I R O N M E N T USPOULTRY Releases Video Highlighting Poultry and Egg Farm Stewardship in Observance of Earth Day In observance of Earth Day, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) has put together a video showing the highlights of several broiler and turkey farms that have received USPOULTRY’s Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award over the past few years. USPOULTRY’s Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award recognizes exemplary environmental stewardship by family farms engaged in poultry and egg production. The farms featured include Bar G Ranch Poultry, Cooley Farms, Bullard Farms and Riverhill Farms. The video showcases some of the environmental practices observed by each farm. Bar G Ranch Poultry in Rogers, Texas, 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 Glaser family 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 in Roberta, Georgia. Litter management is an important part of farm management for the Cooleys. 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. Bullard Farms , owned and operated by Collins Bullard and his wife Alison, consists of 1,500 acres with eight turkey houses. The family grows 180,000 tom turkeys a year for Prestage Farms in Stedman, North Carolina. They also raise pigs and grow corn, wheat, soybeans and hay. All the litter produced by their turkeys are used on their crops. This has allowed the Bullards to increase profitability by eliminating the need for commercial fertilizer. They remove the litter after each flock and store the litter until it can be applied according to their nutrient management plan. Their storage facility is covered and off the ground to protect groundwater and prevent runoff of nutrients. The Bullards use a forced air compost facility that can hold 90,000 pounds of mortality at any given time. The use of GPS allows Bullard Farms to apply litter in specific areas where there is a need versus applying to the entire field. The farm has implemented a phosphorus-based nutrient management plan since they started raising turkeys in 2006. Riverhill Farms is owned and operated by Glenn and Sheri Rodes, along with their parents, brothers and extended family. The family raises turkeys for Cargill Turkey Production in their five turkey barns in Port Republic, Virginia. They also raise dairy and beef cattle, as well as produce corn and forage. Because of their location in the Shenandoah Valley where soil phosphorus levels can be elevated, the Rodes work hard to properly manage their nutrients. Poultry litter and other combustible material is used as a fuel source in a biomass burner that generates hot water. The hot water flows through pipes in the floor of the turkey houses to keep the turkeys warm during the winter months. The Rodes’ passion for identifying alternate fuel sources drove them to build a small operation that manufactures biodiesel from canola and soybeans grown on their farm. Biodiesel generated on the farm is used to fuel tractors and other farm equipment. The video can be viewed on USPOULTRY’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/ USPOULTRY.