Will and Linda Hack, owners and operators of Hack Farms in Turlock, are now $1,000 richer after a trip to Atlanta recently. Hack Farms was one of six farms across the United States to receive the Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award during the 2012 International Poultry Expo, held in Atlanta and sponsored by the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association.
The event is held in recognition of exemplary environmental stewardship by family farmers engaged in poultry and egg production.
Applicants were rated in several categories, including dry litter or liquid manure management, nutrient management planning, community involvement, wildlife enhancement techniques, innovative nutrient management techniques, and participation in education or outreach programs. Applications were reviewed and farm visits conducted by a team of environmental professionals from universities, regulatory agencies, and state trade associations in selecting national winners in six regions.
Will and Linda are second-generation turkey farmers, Jim’s father Wilhelm (now 89), started the farm decades earlier with simple structures. Today, Will has passed on his talent to his son John and grandchildren Jarod, 10, Joshua, 9, and Justin, 6. The fourth generation farm is comprised of 80 acres and raises turkeys and grows nuts. The farm has eight barns (three brooding and five growout) and produces approximately 182,000 turkeys annually. The Hacks have a contract with Foster Farms, which nominated them for the award.
Hack Farms utilizes a nutrient management plan for applying litter to their land, and has their mortality removed each day and rendered for the pet food industry. Hack Farms is in the process of implementing tunnel ventilation in all of its grow-out houses to help control mortality and provide dryer litter.
The farm is also testing windrowing to help facilitate the reuse of litter in the brooder houses as a bedding material and reduce the amount of new bedding required for each flock. To help conserve water and enhance wildlife, Hack Farms has converted its watering systems from a border flood system to drip irrigation.
Water conservation is also achieved by utilizing soil monitoring devices and a leaf pressure monitoring system. The system can help save the farm as much as 25 percent of total water used for the year, as well as greatly reduces the need for herbicide applications to control unwanted weed growth. Hack Farms has installed owl nesting boxes on the farm and cultivates honey beehives to aid in the pollination of their nut trees.
To contact Jonathan McCorkell, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.