From The Farm

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January always means rain. Copious amounts of rain falling, soaking into the already water logged earth. A thick layer of mud evenly coats the equipment, fields and even the farm hands at the end of a long day. To put it bluntly we are all tired of winter. Louisiana has outdone itself in consistently pushing all four seasons into one week since December. Yesterday the rain ceased leaving us with temperatures in the low 70’s and sunshine. Today the misty rain steadily falls as the temps struggle to stay in the high 50’s. Compared to the states experiencing the polar vortex right now it seems silly to even complain.


From The Field

The fields are beginning to turn green. The lush winter mix that was planted is loving the cold snaps we’ve been having which makes for very happy animals on the farm. Our sows have all farrowed with all but one starting the weaning process. The piglets are causing all kinds of ruckus on the farm with their shenanigans. They are small, fast and manage to get out of every single fence we have on the farm. My poor winter garden was thoroughly enjoyed in free for all which lasted a total of 30 minutes. By the remaining evidence I believe its safe to assume the late dutch variety of cabbage was a hit. Maybe next year I’ll actually be able to try it! Recently we set up another brooder to increase the amount of chicks we are raising on a weekly basis. Jon wanted to try a new style of water line that so far has proven to be a very effective system. I was worried the chicks would have a hard time figuring out the new nipple/cup combo but those worries were short lived. Within seconds of removing the chicks from the shipping boxes they were drinking with zero problems.


Market Report

  • We just restocked all our entire line of pork products. Singer Feed & General will have a wide selection in the Greener Pastures cooler.

  • Eggs should start increasing soon once the days start lengthening again. The sunlight and fresh grass really helps boost production.

  • We are still looking for co-op drop spot coordinators for Lake Charles, Leesville, Jennings, Lafayette and Baton Rouge. If you are interested please fill out the form at the bottom of this page and I will be in contact with you.




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September 22-23 8 AM onwards 123 Anywhere St..jpg

2019 APPPA Conference Recap

What a weekend!

Trying to summarize the last three days would be impossible. Jon and I made the 4 1/2 hour trip over to Greenville, Tx for this years American Pastured Poultry Producers Association ( APPPA) 2019 Conference. Monday and Tuesday were spent picking the brains of some of the largest producers in the pastured poultry industry. There were classes dedicated to employee management, farming in extreme weather ( hello south Louisiana winter!) feed control and getting to tour the USDA inspected facility at the Windy Meadows Family Farm. Being able to be on the grounds at Windy Meadows was truly a fascinating experience. We both learned so much during the tour and really enjoyed getting to see their roto-composter that turns the plant waste into a nutrient dense compost that you can use for gardening, field application, etc. It’s something that we are really looking to introduce to Greener Pastures in 2019 since we are growing out of our current set-up.

APPPA has been a wonderful organization to be a part of for the farm. They have a bi-monthly publication called APPPA Grit that contains a wealth of information that is delivered straight to your inbox. They also have a Farmer Directory where you can type in your location to see if there is a farm near you!

We both left the conference inspired for this new year! There have been several projects that were placed on the backburner at the farm in the last few years that we will be bringing back up to the work table to make them happen.


What’s up at the farm?

Like a typical Louisiana winter the weather has been so unpredictable. Sudden rainstorms popping up have made the farm roads muddy as can be. The animals have done incredibly well through all of this this. They laying hens have slacked on production some since the days are so short so we are all looking forward to this spring to say the least. Another batch of piglets were born on Tuesday right before the rain hit. The mama has done an exceptional job at keeping them dry and warm. The big pigs are enjoying the ground being saturated so they can dig deep to get the roots of the turnips that we had in the spring mix the fields were planted in. All of the air and grass being turned over will do wonders for the soil health in that section. It’s not one past that we can put the chickens on so we rely on the pigs to keep it fertilized.

What Happens In Winter

Winter means rain. Lots and lots of rain.  If you are in Louisiana for any length of time you will most likely hear the remark that nature has the unique ability to shove all four seasons into one week.  They are not joking.

Monday may be 80* with high humidity and by Wednesday we have frost warnings with the temperatures dropping into the 30’s.  Saturday brings another line of storms across the state with rain, lighting and tornado warnings.  It can put a damper on your weekend plans but for farmers the unpredictable weather causes great concern.

Chickens can get wet and chickens can get cold however they can not get both wet *and* cold at the same time. While the laying hens and the piglets do fine the meat birds are the most susceptible to temperature drops out of all the animals on the farm.  All it takes is the wind to change directions and blow some rain into the houses before we have a problem on our hands.  Even with preparing ahead of time by bedding down the houses with rice hulls and bringing the sides down on the houses as soon as the rain starts it’s in the hands of nature.  It doesn’t matter how many birds you raise, it never gets any easier to lose them.  In order to keep our loss rates as low as possible and to keep our birds healthy we decided to keep the winter time for rest.  The pastures get seeded with a rye/turnip mix, the houses stay empty and the ground resets preparing for the spring growth.  Once we hit February the worst of the winter weather is usually past us.  We may catch an occasional cold night but usually the rain has lightened up.  The first order of the year comes in and you can hear the little cheeps from the brooder house all the way until the next December.

By now we all miss having the little puff balls around the farm.  It’s not unusual to find the girls snuggled up with a chick or two, picking out their favorites knowing that their tender hearted daddy will agree to let little “Elsa” live in the backyard forever retired as a pet.  Soon enough the spring activity will be flourishing but for now we rest.

Thanksgiving in July

Fried turkey is one of my favorite holiday meals.  The crispy skin, tender meat and beautiful color makes my belly rumble just thinking about it.  My dad perfected the art last year and boy are we now spoiled.

However there is one thing that I don’t like about turkeys.

They are not the brightest line of poultry.  Their mamas must have their hands full because we have had to teach them how to eat and drink along with playing any kind of noise to keep them evenly dispersed in the brooder.  They do better with people talking so they have had their ears full with a radio station that airs nothing but sermons.  Let’s just say if they were the marrying kind they would have that all figured out by now.

If you haven’t caught on by now GP Farms is raising a line of pastured turkeys that will be available just in time for the holidays.  That’s right, delicious pastured turkeys for your thanksgiving meal. The details on how and where to purchase these fine creatures will be posted on the blog and Facebook page.

Now on to the secret I’ve been planning.

GP Farms is in the middle of developing a delivery drop off point across Southern Louisiana. *Gasp* Yes.  We are partnering with Hill Crest Creamery to have a Essentials Box available for purchase soon.  In the weekly box you can customize your order to include pastured poultry, pork, beef, eggs and Hill Crest Creamery milk.  We will have options for 1-2 people and 3-4 people with the milk and eggs being an add-on’s so you can get exactly how much you need for the week. Delivery will be once a week in a designated drop off location.  Expect the official announcement later on this summer once we get the final details ironed out!

 

I just want to take a moment to thank yall for the support this last year and a half.  We’ve had our ups and downs on the farm and without yall we would not be where we are today.

We are so grateful.

The GP Farms family