Sean McDonald went to varsity with the intention of turning into a bodily therapist.
In fact, life hardly ever goes based on plan, and McDonald’s story isn’t any totally different. As a substitute of beginning a bodily remedy follow, he purchased a farm at the age of 21. At this time, at simply 30 years outdated, McDonald and his spouse, Morgan, personal eight broiler homes, run a cow-calf operation, and handle a customized hay baling enterprise, in addition to a customized fertilizer enterprise close to Laurel, Miss. He additionally serves as chairman of the Mississippi Poultry Affiliation’s Grower Advisory Committee.
“I’ve always been someone who’s ready to jump in with both feet and get to work,” McDonald mentioned. “A lot of people don’t understand it, and you don’t see as many young people on the farm today, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
McDonald is about as removed from the screen-obsessed-Millennial stereotype as you will get. As he gave us a tour of his farm, it’s obvious that the hands-on job of tending and caring for rising animals is actually a ardour.
“There’s something satisfying about seeing life grow before your eyes and knowing you played a part in it,” McDonald mentioned. “The reward of farming is not monetary. It’s other things you get to see and do.”
Working a broiler operation
Whereas the McDonald operation is various, the largest portion of the farm earnings is derived from poultry. The McDonalds develop for Wayne Farms. On the day of our go to, they’d simply acquired about 160,000 day-old chicks (roughly 20,000 per home). They’ll elevate every flock for roughly eight weeks getting the birds to the proper market weight — round 6-8 kilos.
Throughout that point, the rising birds are saved underneath a watchful eye. McDonald walks the homes on daily basis. He additionally makes use of a Rotem Platinum Plus Environmental Controller, which permits him to carefully monitor all points of the poultry home, together with feed, water, temperature and air flow.
After birds are transported to the plant for processing, McDonald says it’s time to scrub out the homes and put together for the subsequent flock.
“Between flocks it’s all hands on deck. We can clean out all of our houses and be ready for a new flock in about 10 days,” McDonald mentioned.
That’s a formidable feat when you think about that one hen home can produce round 25 tons of litter per flock. McDonald says nothing goes to waste, with the leftover litter contributing to his rising fertilizer enterprise.
“Poultry litter is a hot commodity. It’s a good organic fertilizer. Chickens have a diverse digestive system, so it’s got all the essential fertilizers packed into one. I use a lot of it on my land.”
It’s a labor-intensive profession, however McDonald says the hardest a part of the job is seeing misconceptions of poultry manufacturing unfold via the media.
“We receive a lot of flack from various activist groups. None of that is true. Our birds are very well cared for, they have plenty of room and proper ventilation.” He provides, “It’s good practices and good genetics that produce quality meat. We’re not using hormones. In fact, I think chickens are the cleanest meat you can get.”
Passing on the custom
As an elementary trainer, Morgan McDonald has a singular platform to share the story of agriculture together with her college students. Sean, too, has labored with Mississippi State college students inquisitive about careers in the poultry business. Nonetheless, he says the most necessary viewers is his personal two kids.
“Probably the most rewarding part of farming is getting to raise your kids on the farm. There may be no better place to instill the value of hard work. In my opinion, there’s no other way to raise a kid but on a farm.”
Whereas Sean could not have initially supposed to enter poultry farming, it’s in his blood. His grandparents had hen homes. His spouse grew up on the hen farm they now personal and function. He’s hopeful to move on the custom to the subsequent technology.
McDonald might be the first to inform you, life doesn’t at all times go as deliberate. Generally it seems higher.