Meat&Poultry - June 2013 - (Page 36)

Small but savvy The Koch family works together to keep their family turkey farm going strong K BY BERNARD SHIRE och’s Turkey Farms is small by poultry industry standards. It’s a turkey growing and processing company based outside Tamaqua, a small town in Northeast Pennsylvania, in a farming region that used to be known much more for its coal-mining than its agriculture. Tamaqua is centered in an area where millions of tons of anthracite, also known as hard coal, were mined by Irish and other immigrants for many years. But when the coal-mining died, much of the area reverted to agriculture, with small multi-crop farms – typical of Pennsylvania and eastern US farming – coming back. “In 1939, my grandfather ran a multi-species farm here in Tamaqua,” says Duane Koch, who with his sisters Barb Koch, Beth Argal and Pam Williams, run the 60-acre turkey growing and processing operation today. The turkey farm was started by the siblings’ parents, Lowell and Elizabeth Koch. “My Dad was one of four boys in the family, and while he got the turkeys and the other animals, it evolved into the full-time turkey farm,” Duane Koch says. Lowell and Elizabeth Koch are now retired but both still come down every day to the farm to work. Still, most of the active day-to-day operation is carried out by Duane Koch and his three sisters, with Koch’s son, Brandon, 24, now involved in the business. The four siblings work well together. “Yes, it’s probably unusual for four siblings to be running a company like this and getting along with each other very well,” Koch says with a laugh. When the original farm was started, his grandfather had laying hens for eggs, beef cattle for meat, dairy cattle and a feed business. “Then when my parents took it over, they decided to concentrate on turkey, and today the four ‘kids’ raise free-range turkeys fed a vegetarian diet of locally grown corn 36 • Meat&Poultry • June 2013 •

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat&Poultry - June 2013

Meat&Poultry - June 2013
Table of Contents
Commentary - Now, we're cookin'
Business Notes - China’s Shuanghui makes bid for Smithfield
JBS posts $112.8M in Q1 earnings
COOL opponents vow to press on
Triumph Foods to expand pork facility
Hormel income dips on Jennie-O results, acquisitions
Washington - What’s in a name?
BBQ Report - Low & slow is red hot
BBQ Report - Carnivorous curriculum
Packaging Solutions - Consistency counts
Meat Processing Operations & Engineering - Small but savvy
Rooted in meat
Pushing pests out
Sanitation Tips - Usual suspects
CEO Series - Fit to lead
Ingredient Solutions - Meat makeover
Meat Perspectives - HAACP and more
From the Corral - STUNNING evidence
Names in the News
New Product Showcase
Classified Advertising
The Insider

Meat&Poultry - June 2013