Free Reign Farm

Farm in Elizabethton, TN

Farm Facts

Type: Poultry Farm

Years in operation: 3

Annual revenue: 10k-50k
(Average over last three years)

Overview

Free Reign Farm raises chickens, duck, and turkey from hatch to finish. We are one of the few farms in the country to have added a hatchery on site for our pastured poultry operation. We hatch for ourselves and other small farms in the area with a capacity of 1500 birds per month. We raise out, finish, and market over 1000 birds per year on our combination leased/owned acreage of 20 acres. Our poultry is raised on Non-GMO feed, fresh pasture, and is never fed any chemicals or antibiotics. Our operation is completely family owned/operated by our family of five.

Inside the Farm

How is your approach to farming different than other farms in the same category?
This isn't a hobby. Pastured poultry has become a new thing to "dabble in". In the past three years we've watched many farms try it and fail and the reason is simple-costs are astronomical in raising these birds sustainably, and the market isn't ready for $7/lb chicken. We set about to find a way to make clean, healthy, pastured chicken available to the market at a price the average family can afford. This goal lead us to start hatching in 2016. This reduced our losses by 15% and increased our bird health and rate of growth by 12.5%. We then started working with a local mill to develop a specialized non-gmo feed ration to optimize growth. This company now mills specifically for us and we've benefited from the savings of buying direct in truckload shipments.

How does your different approach contribute to a long-term profitable growth strategy for your farm and other small farms like yours?
Long term profitability is a matter of bringing consumers what they want at a price they can afford. Today's customers want clean, safe, sustainable meats but they have mortgages to pay too. Our goal is to provide that and thereby create life-long customers. Through hatching, minimizing loss and working closely with local grain farmers and the grain mill we have been able to fill the needs of our customers and build a sustainable business that is growing each year. Ultimately we would like to increase production enough to supply more locals stores and restaurants with our products. The chain reaction of our venture has been far-reaching into the community as well. Local grain farmers have started planting non-gmo grains at our request, that we in-turn guarantee a buyer for (us!), we've been able to help other local poultry producers by hatching chicks for them, helping minimize shipping expenses, losses, and many times even cutting actual cost per chick. We've also been able to supply many local poultry producers with non-gmo feed at a much reduced price.

How would you specifically use a Mortgage Lifter Lift or Mini Lift?
Feed accounts for 56% of the cost of our product. To further reduce this massive portion of our expense we need a facility better able to handle bulk grains rather than bagged. We would like to purchase a small plot of ground with better access for freight trucks where we can construct bulk grain bins. This would save not only labor and wasted bags, but would also allow greater holding capacity, and reduce our feed expense approx 20%

Please share why you are so passionate about your farm and/or farming in general.
We are always passionate about the things that mean the most to us. Heritage is one of those things. I'm the granddaughter and great granddaughter of a farmer and I'm raising another generation of farmer's daughters, its in our blood. Health is another one of those things. While chicken may be the most consumed meat in the US, the Consumers Union also rated it as the dirtiest meat in the US and the FDA even admitted that 70% of it is laced with arsenic. Raising healthy meat becomes paramount in the face of those statistics. Happiness is the final thing that inspires passion. Raising clean, happy birds, helping other farmers succeed and meeting the needs of our customers just plain makes us happy!

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