Give me scale or give me experience

Thu, December 07, 2017 1:59 PM | Anonymous

Grady Phelan and Greg Gunthorp at 2017 Producers conference.Of all the things I like about the pastured poultry community, the diversity of business models is perhaps one of my favorites.

In 2017, APPPA assembled a group of producers to have a meeting about pastured poultry. We primarily sought people who were “scaled up” or in the process of scaling up.

Two things struck me coming out of that meeting. First, the idea of scale is ambiguous. Every person will have a different idea or a caveat.

Second, was the diversity of business models, and this is my favorite thing. We had a producer in his retirement years cranking out a total of 3,000 broilers a year and loving life. His claims were more profit, better lifestyle, and an off-season, to name a few.

He was turning each chicken into $30-$40 through a value-added product approach. He had been raising and selling poultry for something like 30 years. He did the scaled-up numbers thing through wholesale and retail outlets. Now, I guess you could say he was scaled up in experience.

What I want you to see is the contrast. There are people plugging away with larger numbers, hiring people, creating generational businesses, and making the vision work.

We admire larger farms because they’re unmistakably entrepreneurial, and they’re often driving necessary change in the marketplace.

But in our community, these larger producers are operating alongside the people who are intentionally and deliberately finding ways to be make pastured poultry a successful part of a farm business with modest scales.

At any pastured poultry conference where we’re tackling the issues of the day, I want both groups of people; experienced and scaled up. The challenge is speaking to people in a way that gets experience and volume in the same room. Often, those two characteristics end up being inversely related.

That’s why I think in terms of “professional” pastured poultry producers. That’s not a term I derived. I think Grady Phelan used it to describe the meeting we held in 2017.

When we start thinking in terms of “professional,” some of these things come to mind:

  • You have a livelihood at stake.
  • You associate with peers because those relationships enhance your business.
  • You consistently invest in your education, your business, and your community.

That’s the heart of who we want to attend the Professional Pastured Poultry Conference in Fayetteville, AR, in January. We'll have producers with experience, producers with scale, and producers who have both. 

At any rate, now is the time to register for the Professional Pastured Poultry Producers Conference in January.


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