Farmer Focus’ expansion underscores alternative model to ‘anti-competitive’ meatpacking practices

The new facility, which will double Farmer Focus’ production capacity in two years to 650,000 birds weekly, also is symbolic of the future potential of small and mid-sized multi-generational and new farmers who often are forced to close or sell to larger players due to business practices that benefit conglomerates but not individual farmers.

“This plant is an important step in our mission to promote and protect generational family farmers,”​ because it means we will be able to expand the number of farmers with whom we can partner from the 73 currently to 100 by the end of the year and double again by 2023, Corwin Heatwole, founding farmer and CEO of Farmer Focus, told FoodNavigator -USA.

He explained that while many initially doubted his plan to open a processing plant in 2012, he now has a wait list of 100 farmers who want to partner with Farmer Focus after seeing how the company’s unique business model can empower them and is successfully gaining traction at retail.

In 2021, Farmer Focus became the fastest growing natural or organic chicken brand in grocery stores, and the second organic chicken brand in grocery stores in the 26-weeks ending Dec. 26, 2021, according to IRI data.

A new way of doing business

So, what makes Farmer Focus’ model so attractive to farmers and consumers? Heatwole says it is his transparency – both in how he does business and in where products are sourced.

“Our business model brought a solution to each of the three main key problems that exist with integrators,”​ he explained.

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