Joshua and Haley Trimble are in the process of starting their very first poultry farm. When they started, they knew nothing about poultry! Completely fresh, Allen got the chance to chat with the Trimbles about what they did to get started. Read on for 13 tips on how to start a poultry farm!
1. Begin searching for an integrator.
Joshua and Haley looked at every integrator in their area. They browsed the companies to understand what they offered, being sure to consider the costs and contracts. The goal is finding the best integrator for you.
2. Narrow down the list of companies.
One you explore the available integrators, decide what makes the most financial sense for you. The Trimbles looked at the data from each option, comparing the potential profit and expenses. At the end of the day, your farm is a business!
3. Talk to seasoned farmers.
Experienced farmers can offer invaluable advice to those new to the game. Joshua and Haley visited farmers in their area to learn about their experiences with different integrators. They wanted to know each farmer's successes and failures with different companies.
4. Always check the numbers.
It's important to see if what integrators tell you about working with them is similar to other farmers' real life experiences. Even if intentions are good on the part of the company, sometimes the outcome of working with them is different than expected. Cross check the integrators' offers with the performance of the farmers who work with them.
5. Consider production value.
You have to consider what will happen if your production is hurt by disease or unexpected issues. How does the integrator handle issues like this per their contract? You need to know how your pay will be impacted if production decreases.
6. Decide on an integrator.
Based on all these factors, decide what integrator is best for you and your future poultry business. The Trimbles decided on a company that offered a comprehensive set contractual pay.
7. Prepare to run your farm like a business.
When you get into poultry farming, be prepared to treat it as a business, not a hobby. The lifestyle of a farmer is alluring to many people, and it is rewarding in many ways! But it takes a lot of hard work and business acumen. Get in the habit of keeping your receipts, thinking about your employees, tracking your spending and tax breaks and getting reimbursements when possible so you don't miss any financial benefits. If you're not intentional about running your farm as a business, you will wind up losing money and that sweet country lifestyle will vanish.
8. Secure a loan.
There are only a few options for poultry loans, so be sure to read the fine print. The Trimbles went with a local agricultural bank based on the fact that they offer a membership and pay a dividend based on what you pay in. The ag bank has an understanding of the poultry industry, its fluctuations and integrator relationships. Because of these factors, this was the best choice for Joshua and Haley!
9. Plan based on your LOI.
An LOI is a letter of intent that you sign with your integrator. It outlines the terms of your agreement as a farmer. Share your LOI with your bank to make your financial plan and loan details so you can ensure you adhere to your integrator's outlines from the get-go.
10. Let the lord work.
The Trimbles encourage new farmers to trust in God to guide you through the process! He will help you find the best option—trust in His blessings!
11. Determine what you are excited about!
Keep yourself motivated and focused with your eyes on the prize. Identify what excites you about this new opportunity and let that drive you! Haley is excited to spend time on her farm, learn new things and be challenged.
12. Recognize that your integrator wants you to succeed.
Farming can be daunting, but remember that your integrator wants you to succeed! You should have a mutually beneficial relationship—they make money when you make money.
13. Ask questions.
Don't be afraid to sit down with integrators, farmers, banks and more to ask questions and get valuable information. Most people are happy to help!
We're looking forward to keeping up with the Trimbles' journey as new poultry farmers! We hope this helps encourage and inform anyone who is considering starting a poultry farm of their own.
Have any questions or ideas for future Poultry Biosecurity videos? Contact Allen Reynolds at email@example.com or 800-608-3755.
About the Author
This blog was written by Allen Reynolds, Southland Organics’ Poultry Sales Manager. Allen spent years working on poultry farms, from installing equipment to dumping chicks. He has been helping poultry farmers overcome obstacles since 2014, focusing on poultry farm strength in the antibiotic-free environment since 2017. He has traveled thousands of miles and worked closely with hundreds of farmers during his time with Southland Organics. Allen is known by even more farmers from the YouTube channel Poultry Biosecurity, where he regularly appears in videos that educate farmers on topics like bird health and farm business. Learn more about Allen here.
This blog was edited by Izy Dobbins, Southland Organics' Marketing Manager. Izy has devoted her education and career to communicating science-related topics. With an enthusiasm for sharing accurate and honest content relating to science and agriculture, she ensures Southland Organics' publications are as informative as they are interesting. Izy graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor's degree in advertising, minors in both Spanish and environmental health science and a Certificate in Sustainability. She has been working at Southland Organics since 2021. Learn more about Izy here.