Farming

A Year with Chickens: Wisdom from the Flock

Apr 28, 2016

It’s been about a year now since a quick stop at the hardware store to pick up some duct tape and grass seed turned us into part-time poultry farmers.

Not that I blame my husband. Those little balls-of-fluff are enough to melt any man into a can’t-say-no-kind-of puddle. 

But I had no idea what I was in for when I let my overjoyed children carry three peeping to-go boxes inside my kitchen.

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Virginia is home to the world’s largest pork producer – a Chinese owned company called Smithfield, and this region produces nearly nine million hogs a year.  It’s also a hotbed of opposition to the factory farms where most of those animals live.  

Sandy Hausman

A World Health Organization report recently warned that eating meat puts people at a greater risk for cancer, but that hasn’t hurt the market for bacon, ham, pork chops and roasts.  Nor are consumers deterred by other deadly health hazards linked to the industry. The world’s largest pork producer – Smithfield Foods -- slaughters 30 million pigs a year.  

For many families, ham is part of a holiday tradition.  The nation’s largest producer – Smithfield – is based in Virginia, and this state is home to more than a quarter of a million pigs.  This story is the first in a five-part series looking at the impact of a growing industry on the environment, on the animals and on public health.

http://vabf.org/

Jim Moyer and his wife operate Old Crowe Farm in Red Oak Virginia. There they raise heritage livestock and grow heirloom vegetables. They don't come from farming stock:

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