Hartley & Brent Talk Riding Bikes on the Farm
Hartley & Brent Talk Organic Eggs
Hartley & Brent Talk Riding Bikes on the Farm
Hartley & Brent Talk Organic Eggs
Our cattle live on our organically certified orchard grasslands full of sweet Alice clover. I personally care for 20 cows who roam year round on about 120 acres at our century old Wilcox farm. These animals are grass fed and grass finished, no hormones or grain.
Our cattle are sold by the 1/4, 1/2 and whole Black Angus sides of beef. Commonly, a quarter beef weighs from 150 to 200 lbs. We do not sell meat in grocery stores, only directly to consumers.
We ask .55 cents per pound for the butcher and $4.00 per pound for the farm for a total price of $4.55 per pound. The same day the cow is slaughtered the meat is transported by a state inspected and humane certified truck to Salmon Creek Meats in Mossy Rock, WA. There the meat is dry, cold aged for 21 days. You will see a loss in moisture and weight during this process. That’s a very important step, which greatly enhances the flavor and tenderness. Many restaurants insist on this step. Each cow is traceable from my field, to the butcher and then to you.
When the meat arrives at the butcher, you are free to call and talk to Joe and Sona Markholt, the husband and wife team of butchers. After the meat is aged they will cut it up and you’re welcome to help direct the process or just follow normal, cutting and wrapping instructions. You are entitled to organ meats like heart and liver, as well as your portions of the tongue and tail. You also have the opportunity to get soup and dog bones.
After the meat is frozen, I pick it up in a refrigerated truck. We arrange a meeting place and drop off point that’s convenient for all.
Food is precious and it’s what you put into your family’s mouth. Often consumers have no idea where their food comes from. Whomever you choose to buy meat from, please do a careful due diligence on how the animal is fed, rose, and handled afterwards during the aging and butchering process. Heck, you can even come out to my farm and check us out!
I do hope you choose my farm. If you do we ask for a $100 deposit per quarter and you can mail it to me, Chris Wilcox, at 40400 Harts Lake Valley Rd. Roy, WA 98580
By Brandi Kruse – KIRO Radio on February 11, 2014
On a recent visit to Wilcox Family Farms in Roy, a group of hens could be seen pecking at the ground beneath the breathtaking backdrop of Mount Rainier. It was a clear, sunny day on the banks of the Nisqually River and many of the farm’s 800,000 chickens had emerged from their hen houses.
One would never have guessed that the fourth-generation family farm was still reeling from the worst event in its 102-year history.
On Dec. 2, 2013, a silo at the farm’s nearby feed mill collapsed; burying a worker underneath 500 tons of corn.
“Your first instinct is to grab a shovel, grab a wheelbarrow – do whatever it takes – just get him out,” said Brent Wilcox, who runs the farm with his brothers Andy and Chris.
Emergency responders were on the scene within minutes.
Chief Bob Vellias with South Pierce Fire and Rescue was among the first to arrive that day and said the silo was too unstable for his crew to save 44-year-old Steve Green, whose body was recovered more than two days later.
“In the fire service you have to make some very tough decisions, and this was one of them,” Vellias said. “I felt that we had to put the safety of the people who were there to find this man first. You don’t want to create two scenes.”
Green, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, left behind his wife, four children, and 13 grandchildren.
“As an employer, especially a family business, it’s the worst thing you could ever imagine happening,” said Andy Wilcox. “The fact that we weren’t able to find Steve for two days was really tough.”
While the Wilcox brothers said it was their first priority, rescue efforts at the feed mill were a small part of what the farm was faced with after the collapse.
The mill produced 100 tons of feed per day – a mix of soy mill, wheat, alfalfa and corn needed to take care of the nearly one million chickens that call Wilcox Family Farms home.
When the silo collapsed, the farm’s feed supply was abruptly cut off.
“The loss of life is your number one concern, but the next priority is, ‘How do we feed our chickens?'” said Brent Wilcox, who knew that without feed, the chickens could fall ill and starve to death in a matter of days.
The Wilcox brothers started making phones calls.
“Immediately, we had 800,000 hens that need food. A third of those need food within a day,” Andy Wilcox said. “We called up what is typically our competitors and said, ‘Hey, we’re in a terrible situation here.'”
Within 24 hours of the collapse, competitors were shipping truckloads of feed to Roy. National in Everett, Steibrs in Yelm, and Briarwood in Rochester were among those who pitched in to help.
“It never crosses your mind to say, ‘Let them suffer,'” said Steve Wagner, general manager at Briarwood Farms, which is a division of Valley Fresh. “It could happen to you the next time and you wouldn’t want 800,000 chickens going without feed.”
To accommodate Wilcox Farms, The Briarwood feed mill in Rochester has doubled the number of workers and lengthened hours. The mill used to produce five truckloads of feed per day, and is now producing 10.
“We’ll help until they don’t need us any longer,” Wagner said. “If it’s a month, if it’s three months, if it’s a year, we’re just here to help.”
In the past, Wilcox Farms has also stepped up to help competitors in need.
After a fire shut down an egg processing facility at National in Everett, Wilcox moved operations to their own facilities.
“Within this competitive arena, we realize that we’re all in this together if we’re going to survive as farms here,” Brent Wilcox said.
Wilcox Family Farms will reopen the feed mill in Roy after Labor & Industries completes their investigation into the collapse, which could take another month.
For now, flowers and flags sit near the silo in honor of the worker who died. Over the Christmas holiday, members of the community got together to deliver presents to Steve Green’s children and grandchildren and to cook the family a warm meal.
A memorial fund to honor the life of Steve Green has been set up at Key Bank. Those who wish to make donations can do so by giving to the “Memorial Fund for Steve Green” at any Key Bank location.
For Immediate Release
December 5, 2013
Contact: Brent Wilcox 360-458-7774
Roy, WA – Last night at approximately 10:30pm the body of Steven Green was recovered from the toppled silo at the Wilcox Family Farms mill site.
“The Wilcox family extends our condolences, thoughts and prayers to Steven Green’s family for their loss” said Brent Wilcox, CEO of Wilcox Family Farms. “This is a devastating loss to our company and our community. Steve was an exceptional person and employee. Our family and all the Wilcox employees share in grieving his loss.”
“We will support his family members every way we can during this difficult time,” said Wilcox. “We have set up a memorial fund for Steve’s family and our company has made a substantial contribution to the fund. We are also encouraging contributions from our employees, and we encourage others to support Steve’s family during this tragedy.”
Contributions can be made to the Memorial Fund for Steve Green at any Key Bank.
The Wilcox family is also supporting their employees during this difficult time and grief counselors have been made available to employees today. The Fire Department and local police also provided chaplains for both the family and Wilcox employees at the scene over the past few days.
“We greatly appreciate the emergency management response services who have responded in this recovery effort and thank the support of our community during these trying times,” said Wilcox. “We will continue to fully cooperate with response teams and investigators until their work is complete.”
Wilcox Family Farms has hired KPFF consulting engineers to expedite the demolition of the site and ensure that it is safe.
“We want to understand why and how this tragedy happened and ensure that it will never happen again.” Said Wilcox. “Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our employees.”
“Finally, I want to thank our fellow northwest egg producers and feed suppliers, Valley Fresh Foods National Food Corporation, Stiebers Farms, Willamette Egg, Oakdale Eggs, and X-Cel Feeds who have all stepped forward with support and offers of assistance to us,” said Wilcox.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, contact
Egg Media Hotline
According to a recent survey, 82 percent of parents agree that eggs are a more nutritious breakfast than cereal
Park Ridge, Ill. (July 17, 2013) – It’s essential to provide children with a nutritious breakfast that will stick with them when they ease into the back-to-school routine. Studies show that eating breakfast before school has continuously shown positive effects in children, including higher test scores and attendance.i But what’s the best option? According to a recent survey conducted by the American Egg Board (AEB), the vast majority of parents (82 percent) agree that eggs are a more nutritious breakfast than cereal – and with good reason.
Wilcox Family Farms of Roy, Washington are “committed to producing healthy, safe food, in a way that promotes social justice for employees in a friendly environment.” A 100 Year Family tradition, Wilcox Family Farms earned their Certified Humane certification in 2007 and came into the Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) program as a “split operation” because they were transitioning from cage to cage-free production.
In a split operation, only the hens raised and handled under the HFAC Animal Care Standards can be Certified Humane®, and are kept in a separate location from the other animals, with no comingling allowed. HFAC only certifies cage-free production, but will approve a split operation when the farmer makes a written commitment to convert all his production to cage free.
In 2007, Wilcox Family Farms had 28,000 cage free laying hens. Over the next four years the farm steadily increased its conversion from cage to cage free. In 2011, the number of cage free laying hens had risen to 133,298; an over 475% increase in humane production.
“With each barn conversion costing about $1.5 million, plus additional costs in employee training, the investment being made to improve the welfare of Wilcox Family Farm chicken is significant and commendable.” said Douglass. She called the reforms taking place at the Wilcox Farms “remarkable and solid evidence of a personal and corporate commitment to improving the welfare of farm animals.
Andy Wilcox said his family’s collective “experience and observation has shown that cage free hens show the most natural behavior, least amount of stress and produce the best eggs for our customers.” He added that the conversion from cage to cage free production was not cheap but the expense of converting his cage barns to cage free systems was well worth the investment in construction costs and additional employee training to better understand the behavior and care of cage free laying hens.
Certified Humane® eggs from the Wilcox Family Farms can be found at supermarkets throughout the Pacific Northwest including Albertsons Warehouse, Costco and Wal-Mart.
Douglas added: “The investments made by the Wilcox Family Farms demonstrate the powerful impact that the Certified Humane® program has in promoting and requiring steady improvements in farm animal welfare. The investments necessary to display the Certified Humane® brand are good for the animals and they are good for the business of farming.”
For information on where to find Wilcox Family Farms products and other Certified Humane® products in your area, visit the “Where to Buy” page of HFAC’s website, or visit Wilcox Family Farm’s website.
To read about other Certified Humane® producers, visit our Farm Profile Archive.
Read article on Certified Humane®
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