Increasing Farm Profits by Raising Turkeys – Grass Fed Life – Episode 34

Grass Fed Life

It’s Thanksgiving week, and for many Americans this is the week of the biggest meal of the year.

And for many people the star of that meal is the Thanksgiving turkey.

A bird that’s native to North America, and one that’s become big business around Thanksgiving.

Each year Americans consume 46 Million turkeys on Thanksgiving making it a multi-billion dollar industry.

Most of those turkeys are raised in suboptimal conditions, being raised in confinement where cost and productivity outweighs animal welfare. They are sold to a public that might be ignorant to those conditions, and one that might not care about those conditions, only caring about the price on the package in the freezing.

That’s allowed three companies to dominate the industry: Butterball, Jennie-0, and Cargill. Combined they produce over 3.5 billion pounds of turkey per year.

Huge-numbers, catering to the American public that is largely concerned with price.

Compare those numbers to Darby, who is producing around 2000lbs of turkey this year. Literally nothing compares to the large scale producers.

But this is where the opportunity lies.

While the Butterballs of the world focus on the price conscious, the small scale farmers like Darby focus on customers where it isn’t all about price.

The person buying Darby’s turkeys isn’t focused on the sticker – they have other reasons to buy a turkey from him, reasons that are strong enough for them to look past the price.

Reasons like being locally raised, being raised in better conditions, being raised by a farmer that they know, and them as a customer being able to support a farmer and a method of agriculture that they believe in, and one that’s preciously opposite the methods being used by the Butterballs of the world.

It’s these factors that have made growing turkeys an attractive niche business for Darby.

And it might be a business that fits you and your enterprise, especially if you already have an established customer base.

Think about that as we go through this episode, because today, it’s a turkey day.


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Advice on raising turkeys:

  • Started turkeys in 2010.
    • Started with 100 thinking there would be demand.  Was raising 2000 broilers at the time.
    • Basically started selling them thinking there would be demand for the small amount he was raising.
  • Focuses on a smaller number of birds at a higher profit compared to his competition.  
    • Then just focuses on out-marketing them.
  • “Bigger isn’t always better.  It always comes at a price.”
    • Just because it is bigger in the bank account doesn’t mean that it is bigger everywhere.
  • Talks about how he priced a new product.
    • He just tried to get it close enough, erring on the side of being conservative.
  • If you already have an established customer base, then turkeys might be a nice add for a seasonal product that can be pretty profitable.

Interested in transitioning into full or part-time farming?

If so, then check out Darby’s Farm Business Essentials 3 Day Intensive Workshop

Do you want to transition into livestock farming on a part-time or full-time basis? 

Or are you currently farming, but it’s stressful and challenging to manage the farm and life?

Or are you currently farming, but you are struggling to make the enterprise profitable or generate enough on farm income to farm full time?

The Farm Business Essentials Intensive was created to help addresses those concerns and challenges.

In this three day workshop we will take an in-depth look at where you are currently at, where you want to go, what do you need to put in place to get there, and what are some of the next action steps to turn the ideas into reality.

The workshop will take place on March 2-4, 2017 outside Indianapolis, Indiana.


Connect with Darby Simpson

Simpson Family Farm

Simpson Family Farm on Facebook

Have questions for Darby? He does consulting…

Whether you are simply someone looking to raise some or all of your own meat on a homestead, or are looking to follow your dreams of full time farming Darby can help you be a success and reach your goals. Your one on one consultation is tailored to fit you – not anyone else. It’s all about your farm enterprise or homestead, and will answer your questions on a myriad of farming related subjects. LEARN MORE.


Listen to all of the previous episodes right HERE

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