Georgie Cartanza has been growing organic chickens for eleven years, but organic wasn’t always the direction she planned to go. Before Mrs. Cartanza’s transition into the organic poultry she worked for Perdue growing roasters. Chickens that are termed “roasters” will eventually be sold for their meat. Over the years the consumer market for chickens has changed dramatically. Requirements for growing organic chickens are a lot stricter including: certified feed and soil, access to the outdoors and enhancements to keep the chickens entertained. Georgie, being extremely passionate about what she does, felt like the benefits would outweigh the risk and went ahead and made the switch. On the farm there were four houses 65’ wide by 600’ long. Georgie produces about 5,000,000 pounds of organic meat per year, which approximately feeds 59,808 people per year. Our society has such a concrete image of how they think chickens are produced and if more people had the opportunity to see how technologically advanced and modern our agricultural industry has become I think it would be valuable to everyone involved with the chicken industry. My interest in poultry has grown during my time here at the University of Delaware and this experience at Georgie’s family farm has intensified the interest I have.
On September 9th, I spent the day at Georgie Cartanza’s poultry farm in Dover. This particular poultry farm is organic, meaning that not only are the birds cared for, but there are many more precautions taken when compared to other non-organic poultry farms. These precautions include, making sure there are no antibiotics used, the chickens have access to natural light, they are free range, no GMO’s used, and the feed is organic. The Cartanza poultry farm houses around 37,000 chickens per house and the farm contains four houses. The organic grain used in the houses is from Argentina and Turkey because of the lack of the supply in the U.S. I definitely learned many different interesting facts such as how the manure is used. Each flock produces about 3 in. of manure that that manure is then used as fertilizer. This means that about 20 tons of manure per year per house is produced. Also, it’s incredibly expensive to build and maintain chicken houses. It’s also extremely technologically advanced. The technological advancements throughout the last decade are extremely modern and allows poultry farmers to grow more chickens with about half of the space needed. This is incredibly efficient when it comes to the amount of space needed for not only the chicken houses themselves, but for manure housing and grain silos.
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.