Georgia Cartanza is the force behind a four house organic poultry farm in Delaware and upon meeting her I realized she is one of those special people who is just pure sunshine. Ms. Cartanza didn’t jump out of college and into her current 156,000 bird operation, but started as a flock supervisor for Purdue, the job was essentially to help poultry growers with managing and improving the day to day in their houses. After that she jumped around to a number of different positions before deciding to make the switch to having her own houses and being her own boss with the bonus of a more flexible family friendly work schedule.
After putting on tyvek suits and boot covers our class left the bus and Ms. Cartanza explained about her manure shed, and different external parts of the operation before showing us inside the chicken houses. Right before going into the house we saw the computer system that is a technologically amazing part of the operation, controlling the house regulations right from Ms. Cartanza’s phone, which will also alert her if any of the stats are way off, for example if the temperature in one of the houses spikes. One thing that really astonished me inside of the house was that the smell wasn’t bad, I was always told that chickens are dirty and smell awful…and it was pretty much the opposite. The air movement inside of the chicken house is so impressive that the smell doesn’t bother you, and over all it was quite clean and much quieter than I had ever expected! #AgMythBusted
Ms. Cartanza talked about the food and water system, the air flow, the outside access, as well as the toys the chickens had, like bully boxes and ramps. One silly comment that really stuck with me was her joking apology about the state of her chickens, how the previous classes who visited got to see cute chicks and we drew the short stick and visited during molting!
Ms. Cartanza chatted with our class about a number of different things throughout our visit. For example the challenges she is faced within the poultry industry, how energy and electricity are a big issue, how regulations can really hinder farm growth, as well as the impact public views have. She also discussed with us what she thought was important about entering into the job world, and one of her biggest points was accountability, the importance to be mature and responsible for your own person and actions. She also emphasized how far a positive attitude and the way you handle mistakes can go.