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Have You Heard The Big News About Our Farm?

written by

Ben Simmons

posted on

June 8, 2019

Product Update –

1) Chicken- The second batch was harvested May 24th. There may be a few whole chickens available for July & August. Individual pieces will be back in stock June 22nd. Otherwise, our chicken are sold out.

2)Beef - Individual cuts - we are back in stock on all beef items and will be adding more late June

Custom Half Beef - I have added more for processing the week of June 10th. If you are interested in a half beef please follow this link to learn more and place your deposit to reserve your order

3) Pork- We are back in stock on pork (except bacon & chops) as I picked up the last group from the processor April 23rd. If you are looking for a half or whole pig we will process again in July

4) Eggs- Egg production is running on ALL cylinders! Lay rate is 95-98% which is outstanding. We have added all size options to our website and can easily fill your orders.

Hey, Ben here. We have some really big news to share with you about chicken, but first let me give you a brief history of our efforts to improve our ability to provide our customers our really good chicken.

May 2012 we produced our first pastured chicken. We thought we would be doing great to sell 500 and we actually sold our limit of 1000.

February 2016 Daniel Doyle invited us to attend the Farmer's Drive-in at the State Capital where we meet key Senate & House members including Senator Hudson, Chairman of the Senate Ag. Committee. He committed to visit our farm in May which he did. He introduced me to Senator Hill and together we worked on a bill to change MS law to match the Federal Exemption of 20,000 per farm/year.

January 2017 I made a presentation before the Senate Ag. Committee to support changing MS law to match the Federal Exemption of 20,000. The Committee voted unanimously to approve and move the bill forward. However, Tate Reeves also referred the bill to the Senate Health Committee where Senator Dean Kirby, after receiving communication from Cindy Hyde Smith to "kill" the bill (so I am told), failed to bring the bill before the committee and thus killed our opportunity.

Spring 2018 CHS was appointed to take Thad Cochran's spot and Andy Gipson was appointed our new Ag. Commissioner.

May 2018 I completed a HACCP class and have a working HACCP Plan

June 2018 Commissioner Gibson & Staff visited our farm. We made our pitch for changing the MS law to match the Federal Exemption and that how in NC their AG economy is 10.5 times MS per square mile - in part because of the hundreds of small farms that operate under the Federal Exemption. Key Question - Why does MS import 90% of the food consumed by it's residents?

Fall 2018 Adam Choate, Director of Bureau of Regulatory visited our farm. We discussed the opportunity and what it looks like in the 40 other states that operate under the Federal Exemption. I suggested he visit NC and see first hand. Which he did. One of the questions he asked was how well does the major poultry processors and small farmers get along - just fine was the response.

August 2018 Senator Hudson called a special meeting of the Senate Ag. Committee. I was one of four to testify before the committee in support of the Federal Exemption.

September 2018 Beth and I participated in a Regional APPPA event at a farm that also had a beef, pork, and poultry USDA plant (very small scale plant). This got us to thinking and praying - Is this something we should consider?

November 2018 I put a bug in Senator Hill's ear about the possibility of us building a small USDA plant. She discussed with Commissioner Gipson who was open to the idea and said he is President of a Board that could provide some funding to support our efforts. How much will you need? Sounding Good - so we start planning.

December 2018 we meet with Commissioner Gipson & Senator Hill along with Robert's Company & Vitamin's Plus to gauge the potential market. Again, all positive so we look to move to the next step.

December 2018 late in the month we establish a consulting agreement with the farm we visited back in September to guide us in building a small USDA poultry processing plant.

Jan - May 2019 we solidified plans, wrote a business plan, made several presentations to the LWT Board for grant funding, and made application with the USDA for our plant number.

May 20, 2019 after passing the background check, we received our USDA Plant Number

May 27, 2019 construction began on our plant. Currently we are about 75% complete and will be where we can process (not under inspection) on June 21st.

There is still much to be done before we can actually process under USDA Inspection. However, we are well on the way. So, why are we doing this? Simply put - FAITH. We believe God has opened the way for this to become a reality and meet the demand from our customers that exceeds our supply capabilities under current MS Regulations. As a USDA plant there are NO RESTRICTIONS on how many we can raise/process per year, our sales are no longer restricted to only consumers, and we can sell across state lines.

I've heard that Mark Leggett, President of MS Poultry Association, say why are we risking Mississippi's #1 agriculture commodity with pastured chicken? Let me "nip it in the bud" as Barney Fife would say - this is nothing but a fear tactic born out of ignorance or protecting his job. There are 40 states that operate under the 20,000 per year Federal Exemption. Chicken rotated on pasture are very healthy. When done properly they do not leave any ecological impact and lead a stress free life in the sunshine, fresh air, water, NON GMO feed, and plenty of bugs - basically letting a chicken be a chicken. Have you ever been caught behind a truck load of chickens? All the feathers and who knows what flying off the trucks! There is by far more risk of contamination of all those trucks hauling chickens up and down our roads then from pastured chicken processed on our farm.

There are a lot of folks we have to thank for this opportunity. Instead of repeating their names I have bolded them above. We hope you rejoice with us as we move forward.

At Nature's Gourmet Farm, we thank you for supporting (integrity) regenerative food sources to create a food system that is better for the animals welfare, better for regenerating the land and better for a healthy community. That is the only way to make a positive impact.

Customer Feedback-

Ben and Beth,

We just have to tell you guys about Rob's recent visit to the PCP for annual check up and routine lab work. His provider was particularly amazed at his total cholesterol trends over the past 2 years. While target is 176, last year his was 164. This year it was 146!!! The ONLY, and I emphasize ONLY, change in his routine in diet and/or exercise over the past 10 years has been to switch our meat source (beef and chicken - we don't eat much pork) to Nature's Gourmet Farm. I can't believe this is coincidence.

I have also been cooking with my homemade broths made with your beef bones, and chicken bones from your hens after we have enjoyed eating them. I don't strain the fat from either broth...that goes right in my recipes when I cook with is so rich and wonderful! This healthy fat does NOT increase total serum cholesterol.

Ok, just had to share this with y'all. We are so excited to have the "numbers" ... but didn't really need them since our taste buds tell us every time what a great choice this is!

R & S

Quote Worth Re-Quoting – “As I grew steadily more comfortable in the kitchen, I found that, much like gardening, most cooking manages to be agreeably absorbing without being too demanding intellectually. It leaves plenty of mental space for daydreaming and reflection." – Michael Pollan

Thank you for supporting our regenerative, local farm.
Ben & Beth

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