Rick and Amanda Walker, 4 Sons Farm
On-Farm Poultry Processing Facility
Grant Award: $6,000
The Walkers are adding an on-site poultry processing facility to their farm, with the goal of producing 450 broilers, 450 fryers and 75 turkeys in 2013, and doubling those numbers in 2014. A dedicated setup shortens processing time, reduces workload and overhead, increases sanitation and food safety, and allows them to sell fresh chicken rather than frozen.
Without the setup time of a Mobile Processing Unit, they can process more often in smaller batches so they can supply fresh chicken, which holds a higher price than frozen. The facility is in compliance with North Carolina Department of Agriculture regulations and includes stainless steel tables, scalding and plucking machines, killing cones, scales, food grade hoses and refrigeration.
“4 Sons Farm is the name I chose not only because I have four sons but because it is for my sons,” said Rick, whose sons Ricky, Joseph, Daniel and Joshua are ages six and under. “I began farming to provide wholesome food for our children, to teach them an ancient and respected way of life, and to create a business legacy to hand down to them. I want to teach them a way of life far from the Dilbert cubicles that is divorced from the natural world around them.”
The Walkers sell to local restaurants and retail stores, supply the Valleytown Cultural Arts Historical Society’s fundraisers, and offer a share to their Community Supported Agriculture members. Few poultry producers currently exist west of Jackson County, so their customer base is thrilled to have a local provider of wholesome chicken.