A strong worldwide demand for poultry (an affordable protein source) has increased the need for additional growers in the industry. Poultry farming can be a lucrative business to be a part of when done properly, however the dynamics of poultry farming are changing. Most of the new farms coming on line are larger in size with computer controlled systems and are run more efficiently to scale. Due to recent changes in the industry, the typical size of a new poultry house is 44,220 square feet and six houses are common on new farms; totaling 265,320 square feet of growing space.
Of course, it's incredibly difficult for one person to manage an operation of this size. The obvious solution to this problem is to hire help, but most farmers have little, if any, experience managing people. Additionally, finding, interviewing and training reliable employees is often expensive and eats up valuable time that farmers are already struggling to find. As a result, many farms are increasingly outsourcing many aspects of their operation to help keep the workload manageable and they're often finding these services to be not only highly specialized, but better able to perform many of the jobs and at cheaper than expected rates too.
By outsourcing poultry specific jobs, they're able to build a professional team of contractors that know and excel at their piece of the puzzle. They often find as a result of using specialized service providers a decrease in mortality, an improvement in feed conversion, and a reduction in fuel cost all helping to maximize profits. Some of the more common jobs being outsourced are pest control, crust out via manure brokers, litter treatment applications, mortality removal, house cleaning blow out and power washing, equipment upgrades, maintenance and repairs, and major yard work such as ditch trimming and grading.
Reduce Workload While Strengthening Profits
Older farms that have minimal farm debt and are looking for more freedom and less physical work while maintaining a revenue stream can benefit from outsourcing management of the entire poultry farm, often to specialized poultry management companies or to neighboring farmers. Typically a 60/40 percent split allows farm owners to scale back their workload while generating a rental income on their asset.
Many of the new large-scale farms are set up from the beginning to have employees run the day-to-day operations. In some instances a knowledgeable full time manager is put in place to oversee several sub farm operations to maximize the return on investment potential. The financial value this person brings to the farm can very easily offset the overhead expense of paying their salary. They also often find that by utilizing specialized service providers that the gross margin is improved by more than the expense of the service providers, again increasing the total operation's profitability.
Tools for Outsourcing Poultry Farm Management
The move to larger farms requiring farmers to become managers is just another part of the evolution of the poultry industry. Recently, Poultry Services sponsored a free showing of the enlightening documentary, “Cluck, Pluck and Luck.” A local group of farmers gathered at the historic Clayton Theater in Dagsboro, Delaware, to watch as this 66-minute history lesson on the Delaware chicken industry traced the improbable success of the region’s multi-generational, family-run poultry farms. This model for success demonstrates how diverse communities can band together to produce a multi-billion dollar industry.
Poultry Services has developed a comprehensive Farmers Choice Directory to help independent and commercial poultry farmers find reputable resources that have hands-on experience in the industry. Select reviews are provided along with the contact information for vendors offering everything from clean out services, farm planning and mortality management to attorneys, electricians and equipment rental companies. We're currently accepting applications for listings, so we invite you to submit your details if you have a service that would be helpful to your fellow farmers.
Our recently released ebook, “Hiring and Managing Great Farm Help," is filled with tips on how to be a good employer. The chapters cover a range of topics, including finding the right hired hands, establishing a good working partnership as well as monitoring and assessing your employees. Furthermore, we're currently developing an operating system that includes daily to-do lists to ensure every aspect of the duties is covered.