Tips to gobble up if you want to start a turkey farm

THE AGE-OLD SAYING of “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is a true one — especially for farmers. More and more, we’re talking with growers who are looking to diversify their family ag operations. With Thanksgiving approaching, the sheer number of turkeys available at your local grocery store may cause you to consider what it would take to start your own turkey farm. Turkey farms can be a viable option for ag operators looking to diversify or those wanting to get into an agrarian venture. No project is without risks, however, so follow our tips on starting a turkey farm.

1. Do your research. Read as much information as possible from reliable sources on starting such an operation. Visit a turkey farm in person if possible. Then you can learn all the tricks of the trade, such as dipping the beaks of each poult, or young turkey, in the water in the pen so they will understand where the water is located.

2. Ready all supplies. For instance, your pen will need at least one square foot of space per turkey and you’ll likely need a heat lamp to keep the chicks warm for their first eight weeks.

3. Choose reputable suppliers. As with most things, you get what you pay for. Get poults from a reputable hatchery, use high-grade feed and make sure to keep their water clean.

4. Plan for dressing. When the turkeys are ready to be harvested, usually in 22 to 28 weeks, make sure to have a reputable butcher ready and waiting to process, or dress, the turkeys.

Starting a new ag venture can be a challenge, but you don’t have to do it alone. We at AgAmerica Lending have extensive experience in helping agribusinesses to grow and develop with our low interest rates, long amortizations, and outstanding 10-year line of credit.

This column is sponsored by AgAmerica Lending.


column by DON HARDEN

BIO: Donald Harden, the Relationship Manager for AgAmerica Lending, grew up in the cattle and citrus business, managing a family ranch of several thousand cattle and horses. He has more than 30 years of experience in the real estate business, and more than 20 years specializing in agricultural sales. Don has owned and operated farm and ranch supply stores, machinery auction companies, and farms. He has served as a director and on the board of the Cattlemen’s Association, as the manufacturer’s representative for ag equipment companies, and as a beef cattle specialist for a national feed company. Don has traveled across the U.S. as a sales rep. conducting seminars and fostering long-lasting business relationships. Don enjoys his work at AgAmerica, as he has never met a stranger. For more information, visit

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