J&M Hutchison Farm has been in Josh Hutchison’s family for over 100 years. Today, it’s owned and operated by Josh and his wife, Merideth. They live in Troy, Tennessee, where they raise 82,000 birds at a time for the Tyson Foods Obion County Complex.
When Josh heard they had won Tennessee Farm Family of the Year, he was both surprised and honored, considering the other farms in the running. He says it makes him feel good, like they’re doing the right thing.
Ever since Josh was a little boy, he wanted to be a farmer. He says raising birds for Tyson is what allows him to be a full-time farmer, even on a small amount of acreage. Early in the morning, he takes care of the chickens and spends the rest of the day working on the farm and tending to his cattle.
It’s a lifestyle he says he feels fortunate to have. “Partnering with Tyson frees up my time,” says Josh. “I’m not punching a clock. Instead, I get to be on my farm, take care of my animals, my chickens and cows, and it’s a wonderful thing to do.”
Each year, the Tennessee Poultry Association (TPA) pays tribute to outstanding growers and farm families in Tennessee by recognizing a Farm Family of the Year as nominated by complexes. TPA receives many nominations each year, representing the best of the hundreds of family farms with poultry operations across the state. The Tennessee Farm Family of the year is awarded to those who do an excellent job of representing the poultry industry. They are stewards of the environment who take pride in raising poultry with the best animal welfare standards and in helping feed the nation.
The Hutchisons are very involved in their local community. They care greatly about their natural resources and conservation, working closely with the soil conservation office.
“It’s our goal to preserve and conserve natural resources and be good stewards of our farm and the animals and land that is in our care,” says Josh.
Although the poultry industry is ever changing, they continue to make updates to be more productive and energy efficient. In 2012, they updated their chicken houses to reduce their temperature variance, including:
- Upgrading heaters from pancake brooders to radiant (AV) tube heaters to significantly reduce their propane usage and carbon footprint
- Replacing incandescent light bulbs with cold cathode light
- Installing energy efficient light dimmers and wireless communication between houses
- Adding fans to achieve minimum windspeed to increase flock performance
- Converting curtain-sided houses to solid-sided houses with insulation and metal to help keep their houses cooler in the summer and decrease electrical usage
They have also implemented several projects to help with water quality and soil erosion, which include:
- Gutters on all houses to direct water away from houses and prevent soil erosion at drip lines
- Retention dams to prevent soil erosion and improve water quality in local streams
- Buffer zone fencing built along the creek that runs through the property to help prevent soil erosion and improve water quality for local wildlife
And all litter is exported off the farm due to tributary creeks of Indian Creek that run around the property. Indian Creek is one of the main sources that flows into Reelfoot Lake.
According to Josh, “we seek all opportunities that will help us to leave the land healthier for the coming generations.”
Josh is a fifth-generation farmer. Their family farm was established in 1906 and recognized as a Tennessee Century Farm in April 2011. A Century Farm is a farm of at least 10 acres or more that has continuously been in the same family and operated as a family agricultural enterprise for a century or more.
“What makes our farm different is that we’re always trying to improve,” says Josh. “We never want to stay stagnant. We’re always trying to be better. We strive for that.”
Independent farmers are the foundation of our business. Their success and attention to detail from animal welfare to the environment has a direct impact on our company, our industry and the communities where we do business. The Hutchison family makes us proud to be a part of an industry that is in the honorable business of feeding the world.