Learn how to process poultry on the farm at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day – June 14, near North English


Raising meat chickens and processing them on the farm can be a profitable way to add diversity to your farm – but knowing proper techniques is essential for quality, safety and animal welfare.

Jason and Hannah Grimm, of Grimm Family Farm, added poultry to their farm enterprise mix three years ago. They invite farmers and the public to join them for an afternoon of observation and hands-on poultry processing practice at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day they are hosting on Saturday, June 14, from 2-5 p.m., near North English. The farm is located at 2976 KK Ave., about 1.5 miles west of North English.

The event, “On-Farm Poultry Processing,” is free to attend and will include a light supper after the demonstrations. The field day is sponsored by New Pioneer Food Co-op.

Participants will learn the proper way to safely, humanely and cleanly kill and clean birds. Some portions will be hands-on, including slaughtering, scalding and plucking – so wear clothes that can get dirty. During other portions of the day, participants will get to observe other processing and cutting procedures, such as carcass evisceration, cleaning and cutting. In addition, Jason will describe each phase of the poultry enterprise: brooder, pasture, processing and marketing.

“We’ve experimented with a couple of different breeds. Now we’re raising the Red Ranger breed,” Jason says. “I’m looking forward to demonstrating how we process our chickens, hearing from others how they do it and talking back and forth – I doubt our system is the best.”

Jason says that on the marketing side, he sends out a communication to customers that he’ll be processing chickens on a certain day, informing customers they can purchase chickens at that time. “During the field day, we’ll process our first batch of 200 birds,” he says. “People who plan to come are welcome to place orders before the field day at grimmfarm.com, and pick their birds up at the event.” He adds that the farm’s second batch of 200 birds will be processed in September.

Jason and Hannah Grimm are third generation on Grimm Family Farm. They raise corn, hay, oats, beef, poultry and dry beans. Long-term rotations and the integration of livestock keep the farm nutrient cycle intact, and minimal use of chemical herbicides helps maintain soil health. The farm markets products through the Iowa Food Cooperative, Iowa Valley Food Co-op, New Pioneer Food Co-op and direct to customers.

Directions: From I-80, take Exit 216 toward Marengo/North English and go south on M Avenue for 8.7 miles. Turn right (west) onto 305th Street and go 1.7 miles to KK Avenue.

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2014 field day season features 35 field days around Iowa. All field days are open to the public, and most are free to attend. The guide is currently available on Practical Farmers’ website, and will be available in print at the end of May. Contact the office at (515) 232-5661 to request a copy.