Lorraine and I have spent this last week at the Acres Farming Conference in Louisville Kentucky. Five days of study! We have learnt so much and will be coming home with lots of new ideas. I have been farming 30 years now and firmly believe that the more I know the more I realize that I do not know.
To give you an example we have been concerned that we rely on a farm in Iowa to hatch our chicks which they send us in the mail. We do not like the fact that they are highly bred just to produce eggs and the male chicks are sent down a chute to a meat grinder. So we get to the conference and I attend two sessions by Jim Adkins from the Sustainable Poultry Network. Jim is working hard with fellow farms to bring back and improve heritage dual purpose breeds that will produce eggs and meat. The male chicks will be raised for meat, the females will go into the laying flock. We have tried this before but now know that many of the sources of these birds have done no selection or breeding for 50 years. He will coach us on setting up our own breeding flock. We will hatch our own chicks and select the birds that perform well on our farm. These skills are being lost as many of the old time breeders are biting the dust. This will not save us time or money but it will be fascinating and help us on our journey to be a more sustainable farm.
As always your comments are appreciated. If you would like to get involved in this please let me know and I will keep you informed... Nigel