Georgie Cartanza’s Poultry Farm

On September 7th, our Agriculture class visited Georgie Cartanza’s organic poultry farm. She informed us about the Delmarva Broiler industry and how it has become far more environmentally friendly than it used to be in the early 20th century. Currently, this production accounts for 9.6% of all chicken production in the United States. That’s 605 million birds! Before we entered the chicken house, Georgie taught us how she practices proper biosecurity with accommodation of her chickens and the consumer. She showed us compost drums used when replacing litter and the organic methods she must practice under the Coleman company and debunked the myths that many of the general population believes through the media. It turns out, organically grown birds must have access to the outdoors and enrichment, and they can only be treated with naturally occurring supplements such as citric acid for their digestive health. Obviously, these birds were exceptionally taken care of from an animal welfare standpoint. Students had to put on protective gear and step in chlorine powder, not only for our safety but more so for the birds, as the potential risk of disease could be detrimental to the flock and Georgie’s profit. We were able to hold the two-day-old chicks while she covered the topic of how efficient each chicken house can be. In a push of a few buttons, she can provide the chicks with food, water, and proper ventilation to ensure they are comfortable in each house. I am very thankful to have had this experience because I didn’t know much about the broiler industry. I had many false assumptions about how the birds are treated and if the chicken I was eating was actually good for me. This trip, however, opened my eyes to the real world of organic farming, and how much care and precaution is taken when growing a live crop. Georgie set an especially good example for other farmers out there and established faith in me, that not all farming is unsustainable, and agriculture industries are consistently trying to find better ways to be more eco-friendly with their productions.

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