Simmons Poultry Contractor Anthony Simpson Says Chicken Houses Having Positive Impact at HomeFri, 05 Oct 2018 14:52:24 CDT
There has been lots of talk that Simmons Poultry is expanding its operation in northwest Arkansas near the Oklahoma line and as a result the company has been actively recruiting new contract growers and building more chicken houses. This buildup has sparked controversary among the neighbors of these new contractors, with allegations being made of production related odors and environmental quality issues. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays had the chance recently to speak with Anthony Simpson, an existing grower from Cherokee County just north of Tahlequah, Okla. where he operates six large chicken houses. Simpson spoke with Hays about his operation and his relationship with Simmons, offering his perspective on the growing contention between the poultry industry and the surrounding communities. You can listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“Simmons is wanting to double their size by 2019,” Simpson said, explaining the situation from which the animosity among neighbors has arisen. “So, they needed more growers and houses to meet their needs. So, there’s a lot of houses being built in that area.”
This rise in production has caused neighboring residents to question the risks these new facilities pose to the environmental quality surrounding them and have started to complain about production related odor. Fortunately for Simpson, though, he says his relationship with his neighbors has always been strong remarking that many of his neighbors purchase chicken litter from him for application on their own land. He adds that Oklahoma has very stringent regulations when it comes to the application of chicken litter and says that should ease the minds of concerned parties.
“Nobody has ever complained about smell or water usage or anything like that. In fact, the water table has actually climbed since we’ve been raising chickens,” he said, adding reassurance that growers practice environmentally conscious waste control. “We compost all of our litter, which we are regulated on. We go in every flock, decake the top off of it. All the clean out- we either sell to neighbors or ship it out to Kansas or wherever it needs to go to.”
Watch a short video clip provided by American Farmers & Ranchers featuring Simpson talk about his operation, by clicking or tapping the PLAYBOX in the window below.
Simpson’s chicken houses measure 66’ x 600’ and hold approximately 50,000 chickens apiece. Simpson grows between four and five flocks a year and says his operation has benefitted immensely since building them eight years ago. Once the owner of a faltering dairy business, Simpson says the advent of chicken houses to his operation saved his family’s interest in their farm and now foresees an opportunity to eventually bring his sons into the business and pass it down to the next generation.
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