Poultry USA - November 2019 - 15

WATTPoultryUSA

ORGANIC, SPECIALTY POULTRY
Growing operations
Bell & Evans currently contracts with about 150 farms
operating as many as four broiler houses. Executive
Vice President Margo Sechler said that includes 20 to 25
breeder farms and about 50 organic farms. About half
of its growers are members of plain communities such
as the Mennonites. The integrator supplies the chicks,

feed, bedding material and propane for its growers. 
The integrator doesn't own a feed mill, but rather
purchases custom blended feed from nearby mills. Margo
Sechler said Bell & Evans requires concrete floors in its

A challenging breed switch
Farmers Pride Inc., doing business as Bell &
Evans, is recovering from a setback with a new
breed of slower-growing birds it launched in
January 2018. In late 2017, it announced a
switch to a breed it called Das Klassenbester
(DK) imported from Europe.
By the end of 2019, Bell & Evans will have
fully switched to a breed it calls DK2. Specifics
of the breed's parentage and performance were
not disclosed. But it does grow faster than the
first DK bird, which grew 15% slower than the
birds it was using before the 2018 breed switch.
The switch was made to avoid future losses and
financial stress on its growers.
Executive Vice President Margo Sechler
cited feed conversion and quality issues with the
breed. Scott Sechler said the product cost 15
cents more per pound to produce, but there was
no willingness to pay a premium for the slowergrowing products. So, it had to sell a years'
worth of product without the premium. The
Sechlers estimated it cost Bell & Evans millions.
The experiment also illustrated the difficulties of producing slower-growing chickens at
the commercial scale. Bell & Evans is the best
equipped company to do it, Scott Sechler said,
but its difficulties on both the live and market
side are sobering for proponents of slowergrowing broiler genetics.
Bell & Evans is a member of Global Animal

November 2019 ❙ www.WATTAgNet.com

From left: Scott "Buddy" Sechler Jr, Margo
Sechler and Scott Sechler, Bell & Evans. Austin Alonz
Partnership's (GAP) chicken partners. GAP is a
third-party welfare standards organization linked
to Whole Foods Market. The nonprofit organization is based in Austin, Texas, and was founded
in 2008 by Whole Foods CEO John Mackey.
All meat sold at the high-end grocer must be
certified by GAP. The standards are tiered. The
lowest rung, Step 1, calling for what it calls no
crates, no cages and no crowding. The highest,
Step 5+, calling for pasture raised animals who
are born and slaughtered on the same farm. Bell
& Evans is the chain's largest chicken supplier.
The Sechlers said there's no interest in moving
Bell & Evans higher up the GAP step system.
Executive Vice President Scott "Buddy" Sechler Jr.
said Bell & Evans is focused on making its own
animal welfare standard the best. Its customers
recognize the quality and strength of its brand
over the GAP brand or any other third-party
welfare scheme, and it should stay that way.

❙ 15


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Poultry USA - November 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Poultry USA - November 2019

Poultry USA - November 2019
Contents
Further antibiotic use reduction will be hard
Bringing tech solutions to poultry industry challenges
Bell & Evans grows in organic, specialty poultry
Gen Z moms will dig deeper for information on chicken
8 digital technologies to disrupt the turkey industry
Efficiency, sustainability key for Pilgrim’s Sanford
Tyson, Sanderson earn Clean Water Award honorable mention
Marketing poultry products to younger generations
Bulb type doesn’t have much impact on broiler performance
Product Review
Market Place
Ad Index
Poultry USA - November 2019 - CT1
Poultry USA - November 2019 - CT2
Poultry USA - November 2019 - Poultry USA - November 2019
Poultry USA - November 2019 - Cover2
Poultry USA - November 2019 - Contents
Poultry USA - November 2019 - Further antibiotic use reduction will be hard
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 3
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 4
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 5
Poultry USA - November 2019 - Bringing tech solutions to poultry industry challenges
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 7
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 8
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 9
Poultry USA - November 2019 - Bell & Evans grows in organic, specialty poultry
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 11
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 12
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 13
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 14
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 15
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 16
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 17
Poultry USA - November 2019 - Gen Z moms will dig deeper for information on chicken
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 19
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 20
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 21
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 8 digital technologies to disrupt the turkey industry
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 23
Poultry USA - November 2019 - Efficiency, sustainability key for Pilgrim’s Sanford
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 25
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 26
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 27
Poultry USA - November 2019 - Tyson, Sanderson earn Clean Water Award honorable mention
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 29
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 30
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 31
Poultry USA - November 2019 - Marketing poultry products to younger generations
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 33
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 34
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 35
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 36
Poultry USA - November 2019 - 37
Poultry USA - November 2019 - Bulb type doesn’t have much impact on broiler performance
Poultry USA - November 2019 - Product Review
Poultry USA - November 2019 - Ad Index
Poultry USA - November 2019 - Cover3
Poultry USA - November 2019 - Cover4
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