This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to tour an organic poultry operation and to learn all about the ins and outs of it. Georgie Cartanza, the owner and operator of this organic poultry farm, was full of not only knowledge about the industry, but as well as wisdom that I will hold onto as I go throughout my life. I found this field trip especially valuable since I was able to apply what I have learned about the poultry industry, its management and the ever-changing market demands to a real life operation. Georgie explained to us that being an organic farm is a lot more work to keep up to standards as well as costs. The average cost of organic feed is 3x the amount of conventional chicken feed – she attributed this to the fact that organic feed has to be shipped to the United States from other countries due to the lack of profitability for farmers to grow organic feed in the states. Georgie also mentioned that with the ever-changing consumer and market, in a few years, she will have to implement more windows, more shade cloths and more enrichments to each house to satisfy the “organic” standards put in place. The poultry industry is always changing and advancing as technology increases and I’m excited to see where it shifts next. This field trip was a great learning experience and I throughly got a lot out of it. Ms. Cartanza is a very knowledgable woman and I hope I get to encounter with her again.
On Saturday September 9, our class visited the Organic Poultry Farm of Georgie Cartanza. Upon arrival, we were greeted with excitement and given a little presentation about her farm and other poultry farms in Delaware in general. I always knew that Delaware was huge on chickens, but it was really put into perspective for us. It was very interesting to hear how Georgie worked for more than one industry throughout her career for her own personal reasons, especially since I had never even heard of Mountaire and always heard about Tyson and Perdue. Along with information about Delaware poultry, Georgie provided us with advice for ourselves and our future, and I appreciated that a lot. We then got suited up and headed to the houses (37,000 chickens per house by the way)!
It was amazing to see how different it was inside there than it has been portrayed in the media. I expected lots of noise, chaos, wings flapping, etc. Instead, the chickens were eating, drinking walking around, and it smelled worse outside the houses than it did inside! It was also very funny to see that free range chickens do not even go outside, what with all the fuss over it.