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  • Writer's pictureJen

Counting the Costs - Why We Feed Organic

Running a farm is an endurance race that has no finish line. – Forrest Pritchard – bestselling author and regenerative farmer

We visited Forrest’s farm a handful of years ago, and it’s etched in our memory as one of the most beautiful and peaceful places we’ve ever been. But behind the picturesque landscapes and quietly grazing herds of cattle, we know just how tough running such a farm can be.

It’s a difficult time to run a business, and that’s particularly true for farms.

We recently had our first batch of chickens processed for this year, and with it you’ll notice some price adjustments. Expenses in every aspect of raising broilers have skyrocketed, and we simply can’t absorb them all as a business. We strive to keep our margins as slim as possible, because an important part of our vision is making healthy and ethical meat a feasible option for the average household. Still, we know our customers make sacrifices when they decide to begin eating this way and purchasing our meat, and we take that seriously. Simply put, we’re not out to get rich, but rather, to strike the difficult balance of affordability for our customers and profitability for our business. And as a responsible business, being profitable is the only way we can continue to produce good products and serve our community.

The largest variable in increased broiler expenses is without a doubt feed costs. They’ve doubled in the past two years, which is an enormous hurdle for farms to overcome. Some producers have been so shaken by this that they’ve considered transitioning to cheaper conventional feeds.

While we don’t agree with such a step, we certainly empathize and feel their pain. Add feeding organic grain, not just non-GMO, to the equation and the expense eruptions have certainly had us evaluating why and what we’re doing.

Where have we landed? Well, we’ve held our ground like the stubborn, but practical, idealists we are… We’ve made the smallest adjustments possible to our prices and will continue feeding organic. Having personally revisited the reasons why we’re doing this as a business, it seems like a good time to share these with you as well.

  • The first and most obvious reason that we feed organic as a business is because that’s the kind of chicken that we personally want to eat. Profound, right? But really, if we traded organic for non-GMO, our confidence in the products we offer our customers would be compromised.

  • Why is this the chicken that we want to eat? Most pasture-raised chickens are fed non-GMO grain, and while we certainly acknowledge that this is an improvement over conventional grains, we believe organic feed is far more harmonious with our farm’s mission: to support the health of land, animals, and people. This chart illustrates some of the substances tolerated in non-GMO crops that we just don’t want in our food or yours either:

10 Reasons Why You Should Choose the Organic Food Label Over The Non-GMO Label by Vani Hari – Food Revolution Summit

So this is our perspective: we’ve set out to build a life-giving farm – regenerating the soil, raising animals in ways that respect their design, and ultimately, nourishing peoples’ bodies with clean and nutrient-dense food. Synthetic pesticides and herbicides are fundamentally life-destroying substances. So do we want to feed them to our animals, soil, and yes, our customers?

What are your thoughts? Is organic important to you, or is non-GMO good enough? This is a conversation we want to keep going with producers and consumers alike, so comment or send us a message. We’re always curious to learn more about others’ perspectives, so let’s keep talking!

- Jen

Pasture-raised laying hens at Glenview Acres

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