Georgie Cartanza is a great example of a dedicated poultry farmer who is willing to go beyond expectations in her field. I admire her work ethic and thoroughly enjoyed touring her farm. Georgie is now an organic chicken farmer and her operation can house 148,000 chickens. Before she switched to organic chickens she grew roasters. The chickens on Georgie’s farm produce about 80 tons of manure each year, which is then sold as fertilizer. I found it very interesting that Georgie would have never expected herself to have her own poultry operation. While she was always involved in the poultry industry she didn’t start running her own chicken houses until 11 years ago. Her hardworking attitude lead her to be very successful. However, she does see some challenges coming her way such as organic consumers changing requirements based on how the chickens are raised. I believe Georgie to be a great role model for anyone going into the poultry industry or any branch of the agriculture industry. Poultry is a huge part of a Delaware and Georgie has stood herself out from the rest.
On September 9th, the class took an exciting trip to Miss Georgie Cartanza’s poultry farm! After working in the poultry industry for nearly 20 years, with eleven years owning her own poultry farm, she had a wealth of knowledge to share with us. She owns four different chicken houses, with about 37,000 chickens in each house (almost 150,000 total chickens!)! On top of that, there is only one other worker who occasionally helps with the farm operations, so she’s raising that many chickens practically on her own!
Luckily the chicken houses are top-of-the-line, with an assortment of computers, machines, and equipment that makes her life much easier. Nowadays, almost everything is automated: there are computer systems to regulate the temperature, humidity, food, water, and practically everything else you could imagine within the house! This allows her to check in on her chickens from anywhere via her smart phone, and helps diagnose any potential problems there may be. We were lucky enough to get a tour of one of the chicken houses so we could get a firsthand look at the computers, feed systems, and a whole lot of chickens.
One thing that I found most fascinating was the inside of the chicken houses. I always imagined a chicken house would be loud with the clucking of the chickens, flapping of wings, and movement of equipment; and most of all I was expecting it to be smelly. But it was honestly the opposite! The chickens were very relaxed, it was surprisingly quiet (almost peaceful), and the airflow provided by the large fans made it so the smell was not an issue!
Ms. Cartanza ended the tour with some words of wisdom about the real world: being a good worker, having good communication skills, and always keeping a positive attitude will get you far in life!
The trip to Georgie’s organic chicken farm was one of my favorite field trips from this class. I had never been to a poultry farm before and being on her farm and seeing her operation exposed me to some of the experiences of an American family farmer. Although Georgie owns a small family farm, there are still a lot challenges to overcome to be a profitable business. Some of the biggest challenges to running a poultry farm are the manual labor needed to run the day to day operations as well as the overhead cost of electricity to run the chicken houses. Also, another big cost to running a farm is keeping up with the regulations and technology requirements for both mountaire and the state of Delaware. To help with daily regulations of the chicken houses, Georgie has a high tech main control center that controls the temperature, humidity, ventilation, and the food and water supply for all three of her houses. There are, as well, requirements to become an organic chicken farmer. Before getting your organic business license your farm soils must be tested rigorously for three years straight to ensure that there are no harmful chemicals in the ground. Another requirement to becoming an organic farm is the installation of windows in your chicken houses as well as doors for the chickens to be able to go outside as they please, making them free range chickens. Overall, I really enjoyed learning about the organic poultry industry on Georgie’s farm and am very grateful of her hospitality and kindness.