Restock Dates: Please see our Farm Blog where we post our weekly newsletter for the latest updates

Perdue Greenwashing "Pastured Chicken" Definition

written by

Ben Simmons

posted on

November 12, 2023

First, our Whole Turkeys are sold out! Thank you for choosing a pasture-raised turkey for your family this year. And, in case you missed out we processed some larger chickens last Tuesday (6+ pound range) that you may want to consider.

About February 2021 it was made public that Perdue was buying PastureBird. Perdue is one of the big three industrial chicken consolidators with headquarters in GA. PastureBird was started by a Marine Corp. veteran named Paul in CA. He worked really hard and had built a great brand based on American Pastured Poultry Producers Association definition of "pasture raised".

This story actually began more than a year earlier. The actual time is not something made public. However, at the APPPA Conference Jan 2020 Paul was leaving hints while talking to vendors at the conference. These "dots" were later connected to reveal there was discussion to sell PastureBird to Perdue.

About the time the deal was made (as best as I know) it was made public that Paul, who served on the APPPA Board, had asked the Board members (sometime in 2020) to not disclose that he was in discussion to sell PastureBird to Perdue.

As you might imagine, there was a lot of conversation from APPPA members about this sale. Frankly, my position was, it is his company so he can sell to whomever he wishes. However, I took great exception to him asking the Board to stay silent while staying on the Board himself - Through all the emails Paul insisted that he had the best interest of APPPA (that includes APPPA members and their customers). By the way, Paul is now a VP at Perdue!

Here are some of the remarks that Paul made to APPPA members:

  • "Mark – I’ll reiterate – I am not asking you to take any leap of faith at all. You should believe whatever you want to. My only suggestion is to reserve final judgement until you see what we do."
  • "My only suggestion is that you wait to reserve final judgement until you see what actually happens.”
  • "Please keep in mind - nobody is asking you to trust Perdue’s intentions.”
  • "Last point – Perdue didn’t set any standards for APPPA, it was the other way around. Perdue adopted, word for word, the definition put forth by APPPA to the USDA, where APPPA proposed that Pasture Raised should mean that every chicken spends the majority of its life on pasture, with pasture defined as majority rooted vegetative cover. In my opinion, this is an overwhelming WIN for APPPA, having a huge impact on how a huge company does true pasture raised chicken."

Fast forward to the Fall of 2023 and we learn that Perdue Farms recently petitioned the USDA with a proposal to redefine the terms "free-range" and "pasture-raised." While the purported aim is to clear consumer confusion, looking closely into the proposal reveals elements that may dilute the essence of pasture-raised poultry farming.

Mike with APPPA stated, "The timing of this proposal, coinciding with Perdue Farms' foray into the pasture-raised chicken market following the acquisition of Pasturebird, raises a flag. It hints at a tailored redefinition to suit a particular business model rather than uphold the rigorous standards that have set pasture-raised poultry apart."

Bottom line for me is "say what you do & do what you say". If the APPPA pasture-raised definition does not fit Perdue's business model they, Perdue, should NOT label their chicken "pasture raised".

This is just one of the many examples of attacks on small farmers. There is no way a small farm can compete with the likes of Perdue on price, volume, ability to petition USDA for regulation changes, etc.

However, when it comes to building relationships with LOCAL customers, small farms really shine. Another BIG plus in favor of small farms is transparency. None of the industrial companies/farms will allow you to visit, ask questions, take pictures, etc. I would also include that small local farms are more reliable than industrial businesses. Simply consider who continued to work the Spring of 2020! Small farms continued to serve customers while the large plants shut down and millions of pounds of chicken and pork were euthanized and milk was dumped.

Would you like to see other examples? How about checking out your favorite organic brand - you may be surprised to learn which major food company actually owns the brand???

Then, check out The Cornucopia Institute. The mission of Cornucopia is to uncover the truth behind organic food and advocates for an organic label you can trust. Their website includes a listing of organic brands owned by massive corporations so you can learn where your money is actually going. Additionally, they have a listing of Organic-Only Independent Brands that are available nationally at retail.

** Product Availability Update **

NOTE: Restocks are made about 6 PM on the dates indicated below!

Chicken - Restocked November 8th. Next restock will be Nov 21st. Yes, we will be raising chickens throughout the winter months

Turkey - Whole turkeys are sold out

Eggs - Restock each Wednesday. Received 950 new pullet hens Thursday, Nov 9th.

Beef - Restocked October 27th. Next Restock Nov 17th.

Pork -Restocked Nov 9th. Smoked cuts 2 weeks later

Lamb - Restocked September 13th. Scheduled to process lamb in November, but this has been delayed.

More from the blog

Website Changes Coming

About two months ago Seven Sons announced they had SOLD Grazecart to POS Nation in Charlotte, NC. Our farm was in the top 5 to signup to use Grazecart back in December 2015. Back then it was very hard to set up... you had to work with the IT guy to program your site. Basically, flying by the seat of your pants. I had learned about Seven Sons and Grazecart during my time on the Board of the Grassfed Exchange Conference where Blaine was also on the Board. Additionally, you may remember that when we decided to add hens to our farm Beth & I visited Seven Sons to check out their operation. But, they (and we) perservered and today Grazecart is very functional and easy to "program" using widgets. So, the sale really saddened me because one of the compelling reasons we chose GC was that it was developed by farmers for farmers who market and sell direct to consumers. A little statistic - last year Grazecart supported about 450 farms. Our farm was in the top 25 largest users of Grazecart coming in around 22 or 23 if I remember correctly. There was no reason(s) given for the sale! The next communication came about a month ago stating POS Nation would transition Grazecart Stripe credit card process to POS Nation Stripe - again, no reason given. Farms were instructed to create an account on the new site and be ready for the migration to happen. All of this we have done. We are prepared, but have not yet been migrated. Then, this week several farms who had been migrated expressed disappointing results and lack of visibility on payments, payouts, reporting, etc. on the POS Nation site. I know when I checked my account status I could not log in. It took 4 email conversations over a 12-hour period AND then a couple of phone calls Friday morning before the issue was resolved. Late Friday afternoon the VP of Grazecart (POS Nation) emailed customers that the migration was put on hold until complaints were resolved. Additionally, this week - DRIP that powers our email marketing function communicated that Google & Yahoo email were cracking down on emails like our newsletters that are not delivered into inboxes. There are many reasons for this, but mostly folks are searching the internet and come across our website. They sign up to "check us out", and after awhile, decide to move on. Most never make a purchase. Some will make only one purchase and probably decide this is not what they are used to and fall away. Instead of using the "Unsubscribe" feature found at the bottom of our newsletter, they "Block" our email delivery. These are the ones that Google & Yahoo are after because these go into Spam folders and not inboxes. I am sure this is a big deal for email providers that cost them big money considering the shear volume of emails sent on a daily basis. That said, next week we will "Deactivate" about 288 DRIP accounts from ever receiving any of our emails. Well, enough of that for now! Remember, we showed pictures of the 23 registered Red Angus cows purchased from a ranch in WY? Well, they have started calving. Two of them this week. Here is a picture of the FIRST one. So glad we can celebrate this birth with our customers. At Nature's Gourmet Farm, our intent is to create a community that evolves around one of the most intrinsically important things of the ages, and that’s the provision of sustenance. That's our passion - to raise healthy food to nourish families and strengthen immune systems. If you are new to our farm then maybe you have been looking for premium ALL NATURAL GOODNESS of beef, pork, chicken, and eggs raised on pasture as God intended - with emphasis on Regenerative Principles and NOT conventionally raised animals (with growth hormones, drugs, chemicals, and antibiotics) - and where animals are treated humanely - then you have come to the right farm. Our delivery schedule and product availability are listed below along with order buttons that will take you to our website where you can browse over 90 product choices and place your order from the convenience of your home. It's that simple! ** Product Availability Update ** NOTE: Restocks are made about 6 PM on the dates indicated below! Chicken - Restocked May 8th. next restock will be May 23rd. . Turkey - Only have ground turkey and turkey wings available. Eggs - Restocked each Wednesday. We are well stocked on eggs - especially large at this time. Beef - Restocked April 19th. Next restock will be May 17th. Pork - Restocked fresh cuts Wednesday, May 8th followed by cured items (bacon) about 12 days later. Lamb - April 17th lamb did not work out. They were only 50 lb live weight or about half the weight needed for slaughter.

Updates & Musings From Farmer Ben

Last week I announced that we continue to have strong demand for our half beef custom orders, and that we have scheduled a harvest date for 6 "custom" beef with Homestead Farm & Packing in Lucedale, MS. Here are the key dates: April 27th 6 beef (12 halves) added to our website for orders. First-come, First-served. Customer pays deposit to reserve order. June 1st Cut-sheet due not later than this date. Best practice is to complete within a week of placing order. Cut sheet can be found at this link - scroll to the bottom of the page June 3rd I will deliver the cows to the plant.

Do You Need A Half Beef? Must Read

Before I get into the main topic, let me share that our new mama cows are going great. They are settling in and now curious when we come around. For example, last Monday Jared picked up a load of chips for our chick brooder bedding and while unloading they eased up to see what we were doing. Very cool! Next, we want everyone to know that we are mostly FULLY STOCKED on beef, pork, eggs, and chicken. Its been a long time since we were last able to communicate that. Exceptions are filet, flank, and hanger steaks. Who bought all of those filets?