We're A Family Farm, Not A Company Farm

I've been asked if we are a company farm several times so I thought I would just take this opportunity to say, No, we are not a company farm.

We grow chickens, broilers, for Tyson.

We are with the Corydon, Indiana complex, one of the top complexes in the country.

Now it is true that several years ago Tyson had company farms, there were some near us.

A company farm meant Tyson owned the land, the barns, and the chickens and they would hire someone to take care of the farm, often times it would be a family.

Well it didn't take Tyson long to know what most of us already know, a company owned farm just doesn't produce as well.

When they compared the company farms to the family farms the family farms by and large out preformed the company farms in both the quality of birds and the upkeep of the farm.

So they did away with all of the company farms and now all of their producers are family farms.
Well, in our area that's the way it is anyway.

What does it mean to be a family farm that raises chickens for Tyson or as some say, under contract?

It's simple really, it means we own the farm, we owned this place long before we ever started raising chickens for Tyson.

It means we are the ones who had to get the loan  and permits to build the buildings, we have to pay the insurance and the taxes on the buildings and the land, we pay all the utilities save a gas bonus Tyson does give us during the winter months.

Tyson does not own any part of our farm.

I guess to make it simple you could say they are paying us to use our farm, or to grow their chickens.

We don't own the birds, they belong to Tyson.

They belong to them but we care for them.

If the alarm goes off on a winter night telling us the birds, (Tyson always refers to the chickens as the birds), are  cold, Mark gets up and goes out to make sure things are taken care of so they get warmed up.

The same in the summer, if it is 90 plus degrees outside and the birds are big  and can't handle the heart, it isn't Tyson who is here keeping them cool, it's us.

If the pump goes down and there is a water problem it's us not Tyson who fixes it.

Sometimes people think that because you are a bigger producer you don't care for your animals.

That simply isn't true, oh now I know there are a few who don't do a good job, that is true of small operators as well, it's true in every profession.

But Mark and the other farmers that I know, and I know a lot of them are caring for their birds.

Sure they care because they are going to get paid for it, I mean if they don't grow well we won't make as much so we want them to do well because it's how we make our living , we're chicken growers but that isn't all it is.

They want what's best for the animals and they want to see their farm cared for in the best possible way. 

It is to the farmers benefit to see that his farm and buildings are kept in good shape.

He is building a legacy,  a homeplace, he has something to hand down, a family name to honor.

He wants to do a good job for Tyson and he appreciates the opportunity they give him but in his mind he isn't building Tyson, in his mind he is building a family and a farm and that family contributes to the community and the community to the county and the county to the state and the state to the country and that is why we are called the American Farmer, not the Company Farmer.

God Bless the Farmers the world over!!

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