People want to know where their food comes from. And we think they should be able to find out. That’s why we’re happy to introduce you to some of our family farmers. They take pride in raising chickens to share with you and your family.
Ryan and Laura both come from a long line of farmers, with the Greer family being a loyal Farm Bureau member for more than 30 years. Ryan and Laura are excited about their first child, a daughter born in early 2017 in Middletown, Delaware. They’re also excited about being the first organic poultry farm in New Castle County, Delaware, and being recognized as the county’s farm family of the year in 2016. Over the years, their farm has had diverse crops, including soybeans, wheat, barley, rye, corn, pumpkins and hay.
Jesse is a third-generation farmer. His grandfather first came to Bridgeville, Delaware, with 13 cows and 35 dollars, and the rest is history. Today, Jesse and his family own and operate four poultry houses and lease two additional houses, producing approximately 750,000 birds annually. Jesse is proud to be an active member of the Farm Bureau, where he brings his love of agriculture to life. In addition to working with poultry, Jesse and his family also produce grain, operate a 225-head dairy, and own and operate a creamery.
Matt’s father, Bill, was originally a dairy farmer. In 1991, he built two houses to raise conventional chickens at his farm in Clayton, Delaware. Little by little, he added more chicken houses. With a passion for farming and producing food, Matt and his wife, Bobby Jo, began operating their family farm in 1998. Their farm converted to Coleman Organic in 2014, and in 2015, they added two new houses with the addition of Sunrise View. The Webbers’ interests other than poultry include growing hay and row crops.
Kenny and Sharon Autry live in Kentucky, home of bluegrass music. As founders of the Monroe Bluegrass Foundation of Kentucky, they host the Jerusalem Ridge Bill Monroe Music Festival every year. A friend got them interested in growing chickens 15 years ago. They particularly loved the independence it gave them, and the satisfaction of providing a No-Antibiotics-Ever and vegetarian-fed product to consumers. They have been doing it ever since. Kenny, a retired school teacher, remains busy on the farm and fulfills his duties as Ohio County's District 5th Magistrate and Honor Guard for Veteran Services. Sharon teaches the fiddle to children at local schools. They're also members of the Cowboy Fast Draw Association.
The Boyds know that a healthier bird is healthier for you. That's why they take pride in the care they give every flock on their farm. Nine years ago they decided to raise chickens full time to be closer to their family. The Boyds' farm is never short on action. When they are not taking care of the chickens or chasing after the grandkids, Cindy enjoys quilting, while Bobby is the song leader for his church. You might even catch him singing to the chickens. No matter what obstacles they face on the farm, they say it's worth it because "you are what you eat," and they enjoy providing families with No-Antibiotics-Ever chicken.
Billy and Diane have been farming for 32 years; 15 of those have been spent raising chickens. Diane takes care of the chickens while Billy does the other farming, handling the corn and soybean crops. Diane says, "We like raising chickens because we have a real good time. You get to be your own boss, keep your own hours and stay at home and help out with your family." Diane likes to play music to the chickens; she believes they are happier and grow better. The Doolins also practice no-till farming, which allows them to reuse the soil each year by retaining moisture and decreasing erosion.
As a third-generation farmer, Travis Drake knows a thing or two about farming, including that it takes hard work to produce a quality chicken. He likes that with PERDUE® HARVESTLAND® chicken, "what's on the label is what you get," and that's backed by having his farm's name on every whole chicken from his farm. The Drakes also have their hand in raising beef cattle and growing hay, and they recently welcomed a baby boy into their family. When asked if his children would be expected to farm, Drake said, "If my children want to, that's OK. It will be encouraged." But the Drakes' newborn son has plenty of time to think about it.
Brandon has been farming since 1996, and raising chickens since 2006. It's clear that Brandon has always loved "watchin' stuff grow, working with family and being outdoors"; it's part of why he fits in perfectly with Perdue Harvestland. Brandon says, "I prefer raising PERDUE® HARVESTLAND® Chickens because they're easier to raise and use No-Antibiotics-Ever. It feels good to see my neighbors' names on whole birds in the stores." Brandon has schools tour his farm and stays active in the community, including tractor pulls. That's right, Brandon and his custom tractor, "BUCK WILD," participated in tractor pulls in five states in 2010!
Being "part of something bigger" brings joy to the Hayden family. Their commitment to the farm, being involved in the community and providing families with affordable, No-Antibiotics-Ever chicken does exactly that. Martin is a sixth-generation farmer, and their sons are following suit: Daniel is a farmer, and David works in food processing and blogs about life on the farm at farmingamerica.org. Their knowledge of farming and the land yields a great product. In fact, Hayden Farms' PERDUE® HARVESTLAND® chicken was served to Queen Elizabeth when she attended the Kentucky Derby. "When you make your living off the land, you take good care of it," say the Haydens, recipients of the 2011 Kentucky Poultry Federation Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award.
Mark and Carol have been farming since 1975 — they started raising chickens in 1996. Mark is a third-generation farmer, and he started farming to work with his father; he continues to enjoy farming today because it allows him to work with Carol, his brothers and his nephew. Mark says, "PERDUE® HARVESTLAND® Hens are the hardier — perfect raising hens. I love working for a company that appreciates quality." Mark and Carol enjoy snow skiing and traveling in their free time.
Dale and Ann wanted to raise a family, so they started D&A Howard, Liberty Farms. For 13 years now, they have been farming and raising chickens. The whole family participates in raising the chickens. Dale says, "I love raising Harvestland chickens. We feel fortunate to work with them. As a company, they take good care of our family." In addition, the Howards are members of the Farm Bureau and the Kentucky Poultry Federation.
Satisfaction for Debbie and Darren Luttrell means running a diversified family farming operation. The Luttrell family grows soybeans and corn to feed their chickens and neighboring flocks, raises and sells No-Antibiotics-Ever chickens to Perdue Harvestland and recycles chicken litter to fertilize their crops. The Luttrells and their children, the next farming generation, truly live by the belief, "Take care of the land and it will take care of you." The Luttrells have been farming for over 25 years and raising chickens for 14 years. They are third-generation farmers who have strong ties to the land and community, and they take great pride in providing PERDUE® HARVESTLAND® antibiotic-free chickens to the American consumer. When they aren't working on the farm, Debbie is the chair of the Ohio County Habitat for Humanity, and Darren is the Chair for the local Soil Conservation District.
"It feels good raising quality chicken for other families to enjoy," says Phil Murphy, a third-generation farmer and proud member of the Kentucky Poultry Federation. "We put a lot of effort and time into raising a quality bird," says Murphy. He notes his biggest challenge is Mother Nature: "You have your ups and downs in agriculture, but you have to roll with the punches and just do it." After all that hard work, it's only natural that they were excited when they saw PERDUE® HARVESTLAND® Whole Chicken with their name on it at a local supermarket; they bought it and kept the wrapper.
Darren and Amanda grew up on farms. In fact, they're fourth-generation farmers. Perhaps that's why they started raising chickens in 1996. The Rices are an active family, with three kids who participate in FFA and 4H. Darren likes the challenge of raising chickens. He says, "Raising Harvestland chickens was an opportunity to do something special. I take more care of the birds, and the consumers appreciate that. We are taking care of families by raising the best chickens we can." In addition to participating in water and land conservation and recycling, Darren is on the local Soil Conservation Board. It's no wonder that Rice Farms won a Pasture Conservation Award.
Mark has been farming since 1982 and raising chickens since 1998. In fact, the Turner family has been farming for seven generations on the same ground. Mark has never wanted to do anything else — he enjoys working outdoors. The Turner family takes their job of raising chickens seriously. They even have a water purification system for the chicken houses. Mark says, "We love growing for Harvestland because we like knowing we're feeding other families." Recipients of the NRCS Environmental Award and the Master Conservations Award, the Turners are huge Food Network fans.
Rickie and Beverly Williams have been farming for more than 25 years. They became the first in their county to raise chickens 17 years ago, and have been producing award-winning chickens ever since. The Williamses are dedicated members of the community, serving the public through their jobs as a school bus driver and deputy warden. They are active in church, and attend their grandchildren's sporting events. The Williamses are proud to say, "We raise birds with care; [they are] well fed and well taken care of." We would expect nothing less from these poultry pros.
Nick is the owner of two poultry farms, Ideal Farm and Dream Farm, made up of eight houses totaling 268,800 square feet in Salisbury, Maryland. Before he started farming, Nick was living in Long Island, New York, with his wife and four children and running a car service business. To spend more time with his family and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Nick purchased his farm in 2013. He built the first four houses and placed his first flock in February 2014, and then placed the second set of four houses in December 2016. Nick was honored to receive the DPI grower of the year award in 2017 and is a proud member of the Perdue producer council.
Sarah was raised on a poultry farm, and she brought her love of agriculture with her after high school when she bought her own farm, Rising Sun Acres poultry farm in Federalsburg, Maryland. Her family farm is made up of two poultry houses, which produce approximately 200,000 birds annually. Sarah, Scott and their four children work together to farm about 1,500 acres of grain and 1,200 acres of vegetables along with their poultry operation. Sarah believes that working through the challenges of operating a farm with her family is one of the things that brings them all closer together.
Owner-operators and brothers, John and Travis Grimes are 4th generation farmers and the first in their family to raise chickens. They’re heavily involved in the local Leggett, NC, area, and want to help feed that community the best way they know how. John and Travis take pride in knowing that the chickens they raise for Perdue are part of what goes to their local grocery stores.
Despite the long hours and hard work of running a small family farm, Ed and Ward Kelley take pride in chickens they grow for Perdue. As the 4th and 5th Generation of their family, Ed inspired Ward to join the family business, and they hope to pass that legacy down to the new 6th generation of Kelleys.
Nestled in the hills of Brandywine, WV, Kevin and Cindy Sponagule run a chicken breeder house along with their three school-aged girls. Here, it’s a whole family affair, with everyone pitching in around the farm and in the chicken house. As the 5th generation to farm this land, Kevin and Cindy are proud to provide to Perdue and their local community.