My husband is a 3rd generation turkey farmer, but our farm officially began 6 years ago, as a result of increased demand for turkey because of Subway’s $5 Footlongs! It was kind of a unique situation that I have written about extensively on my blog. Another turkey farmer in our area wanted to expand and offered to help us build new barns as partners with him. We took him up on the amazing opportunity and never looked back.
We raise more than 100,000 turkeys every year. Although many people assume that our turkeys are eaten at Thanksgiving, we grow turkeys year round for further processing (lunchmeat, ground turkey, sausage, etc.) So our farm is busy every single day. We do not have a slow season.
We have two boys, ages 4 and 7, and they love to help on the farm. When we get a new flock of turkeys, we all unload them together, and the boys often help move turkeys from one barn to another. When we’re not working on the farm, we love playing outside (especially soccer and t-ball), family movie nights, and building legos together.
Last year at this time, I worked part time for the Iowa Turkey Federation, and had my own small home decor business, called The HomeShed. But, when avian influenza came to Iowa this spring, my husband and I decided it was time for me to go back to work full time. Even though our turkeys were not infected, we wanted to be better financially prepared in case they were. So after 5 years as a part time stay-at-home-mom, I now work full time in ag communications. Luckily, my parents and in-laws both live nearby, and we take advantage of our “village” for raising our boys and getting things done on the farm.
Antibiotic use is a hot topic right now, and I’ve written about it a lot on my blog. But more than anything else, I want non-farm families to know how dedicated farmers are to animal welfare and food safety. Because I did not grow up on a farm, I had some pre-conceived notions of farming when we started out, but many of them were just plain wrong. I’d like to encourage people to ask farmers directly about how food is raised, and I am happy to answer any questions about my turkey farm.
You can reach me on my blog: www.onthebanksofsquawcreek.com
@katieolthoff on twitter