“I’ve spent my entire life on a farm. I’ve lived at my farm for 22 years. I grew up on my dad’s farm which is one mile down the road.
I have farmed organically all my life. My parents’ farm has never been farmed conventionally. In 2000, I started raising organic turkeys. I have always raised organic egg laying chickens, organic crops for the animals, and I have sold eggs to stores since 1992. Before then, I helped my parents with their farm work.
I’ve always taken care of my animals the best way I know how to: keeping them from harm, giving them the natural conditions that the animal should be in, protecting them from bad weather, from themselves, and other animals. I farm the old fashioned way with modern tools. What I enjoy the most every day is when I open the door to the turkey barn in the morning, and the birds all run out to where they are going to spend the better part of their day. I take care of them the best I can, in the most natural way I can.
When I learned about Global Animal Partnership, I was eager to participate in this new, innovative program for farmers. In 2012, I went through the 5-Step Program certification process for the first time and earned a Step 3 rating.
I see the value of the 5-Step Program and how it is making a distinction of how farmers and ranchers are raising their animals, which is no easy task by any means. What I like is that G.A.P. is constantly taking steps to improve its standards for turkeys in a realistic and practical way.
The best part of the 5-Step Program is the marketing opportunities. The program labels give distinction to how the animals are raised. This helps me distinguish my products in an important and educational way.
I will continue to do what I do—even if there were no such thing as organic and no such thing as a 5-Step rating. I farm this way because it positively impacts the customers eating the final product, myself and my children working with the animals, and I can sleep with a calm heart knowing I did my best.”