The Shenandoah Valley Organic chicken company is celebrating five years in business.
When Shenandoah Valley Organic first started five years ago in Harrisonburg, Virginia, chicken farmer Corwin Heatwole set out to flip the business model that dominated the U.S. chicken industry on its head by partnering with other farmers to create a new farmer-grower contract.
They started Shenandoah Valley Organic and created the Farmer Focus brand to build a progressive model for the chicken industry.
“We wanted our farmers to be partners, not contractors as in the typical industry model. This means farmers own their chickens, have more control over their farm, and earn a better living for their hard work,” Jefferson Heatwole, chief sales and marketing officer, said. “This new business model not only benefits the farmer, but it also guarantees a happier, higher quality chicken.”
Among Shenandoah Valley Organic’s innovations, providing information on the source of its chicken.
Every package of Farmer Focus Organic Chicken includes a four-letter Farm ID that consumers can enter into a farm locater at FarmerFocus.com to discover which SVO farmer raised the chicken they are buying.
For example, they may get a chicken from Jason Daugherty, a fourth-generation farmer who has been part of SVO for more than a year.
“It’s nice to be part of a company that actually puts the emphasis on the animals’ health and their safety…and they actually care about the farmers who are raising them,” Daugherty said.
Farmer Focus chicken is Certified Humane, USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified. Their package is nearly 100 percent recyclable with less waste than typical chicken packaging.
“We consistently examine our entire business operation and are constantly improving how things are done,” Heatwole said.
In 2019, SVO Farmer Focus will extend into cooked and products that meet consumer demands for simple and fast meal solutions. Seasoned fresh chicken, cooked sausages and meatballs, and broth will be available to consumers who are seeking quality organic food.