Bill Staggs grew up with a front-row seat to the farming world. His uncles, cousins and neighbors all raised livestock, but he wasn’t directly involved until about 12 years ago, when he started his own 120-acre farm near Charleston, Arkansas. He lives on the farm with his daughter and grandson.
A Network of Like-Minded Farmers
In 2015, Bill got involved with Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative, one of Moink’s trusted partners. Up until that time he worked mostly with cattle, but joining the co-op gave him the encouragement he needed to make the switch to a sustainable, grass-based operation, and he added in grazing chickens, hogs and turkeys. “I liked the community the co-op provided, both the individuals who were part of it and the quality of their products,” Bill recalled. “That was the appeal to transition to an all-natural, pasture-to-plate model.”
Rotation, Rotation, Rotation
Bill now cares for approximately 3,000 turkeys and chickens, and up to 75 hogs at a time. He’s learned that raising healthy pasture-raised animals is all about having an organized rotation system. “The birds are put on fresh grass each day,” he explained. “The animals never stay on the same area for more than 24 hours. This allows the parasite cycle to be broken, creating a cleaner, healthier environment for the chickens and turkeys.”
Bill’s hogs and cattle are on a similar rotational system, moving to new pasture as often as twice a day. “Our community is very environmentally-minded, and we want to do what’s best for the land and the animals,” he said. “The rotational system allows the soil to rest and recover and keeps the animals happy and healthy.”
Commitment to Transparency
When asked what he wishes consumers knew about sustainable farming, Bill said complete transparency is the driving force behind everything he does. “It’s not just marketing,” he said. “We truly want people to see where their meat is coming from, and the extra steps we take to ensure quality.”
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