Yesterday was one of the those interesting days, which occur from time to time, that are a condensed version of our life in one shot. Up early when it is just barely light to go for a walk because there is a lot to do. Back for just enough time to have a cup of coffee and check some emails. This was turkey moving day so I headed out to do that but first started the irrigation in the little tunnels to keep all the Thanksgiving vegetables happy and to take soil samples in the field the birds are about to go into. Put the fences up around the new area and open the fence that was keeping them in the current field as they watched me intently get the new field ready. I think they really do know when it’s time to move. Immediately they move into the lush green cover crop, heads down, making what we call the “happy turkey sound”. Drag their shelters, feeders and waters into the new field and it is done. Jump on the tractor to mow down the rest of the six foot tall sudangrass cover crop in the field they had been in so that I can be ready take soil samples there prior to preparing the soil for the winter. While on the tractor I mow the grass field the turkeys will be in next so the tender regrowth will be just the right height when they move in there in a week or so. It is 11:00, enough time to shower and change clothes and drive to Pittsboro several meetings.
Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI) is one of the hardworking non profits that we work with in multiple capacities, their headquarters is in Pittsboro. First I met to discuss a new crop insurance program for diversified farmers to see if it would work for us. We have never had crop insurance because one: it hasn’t been available and two: we are so diversified that if some crop fails some other crop or crops always makes up for it. We decide we are not a good test case but come up with some other farmers who might be. The bulk of the afternoon is spent meeting with a group of representatives of organizations who fund non profits like RAFI. They are learning about sustainable agriculture and where they could fund projects, they are particularly interested in what is happening with our Growers’ Choice poultry cooperative. I speak, our former plant manager talks about his experience and one of the Latino employees talks (with an interpreter) about the difference between working for us and the large chicken plants (he liked us better). They are then all loaded on a bus and drive up for a quick tour of our farm, to see more examples of sustainable farming. It is 4:00 by the time they leave, just enough time to feed and water the turkeys and head into town with Betsy. We stop at the hardware store for a few supplies and then she goes to Italian class while I walk down the street to have dinner with a class of UNC students studying food. We talk about farming (why are colored peppers so expensive), and politics (why we are going to Italy for the Slow Food conference), chefs, travel, local food, farming…. this same class will be coming to the farm in a few weeks. I have to leave early (8:00) to meet Betsy and go to a Farmers’ Market Board meeting. We are no longer on the board but try to go to as many meetings as we can to keep up and help answer questions that may come up. 10:30 we get home, what a day.