The Crouse brothers grew up on their 50-acre farm. Their father bought the farm in 1984 and raised beef cattle. Growing up, they worked on their farm and other local dairy farms. Their grandfather was a dairy farmer on a neighboring farm. Joel met his wife, Amy, on a road trip to the West Coast. They talked almost all night and began a long-distance relationship that ended in marriage. They have been married four years and have one daughter. Tim is not married. Tim and Joel both initially worked off the farm—Tim as an AI technician and Joel as a diesel mechanic—but they both wanted to work their own farm. They had no poultry experience but decided to produce eggs after talking with Heritage Poultry Management. They finished their two poultry houses and housed their first flock of 40,000 hens in 2016.
Tim works the farm full-time. He also raises beef cattle and has about 17 acres in corn and hay. Joel still works off the farm as a mechanic. “We chose laying hens because you can work with your family,” Joel explains. “Tim, Amy and I pack the eggs. Amy also walks the barn, picks up floor eggs and washes dirty ones.” “I never worked on a farm,” Amy admits. “I like being able to contribute to the family and to the success of our farm.” “Heritage has been very supportive,” Tim says. “Our service man, Nelson, helps us solve problems and keeps us laughing.“ What keeps them farming? “So one day I can work full-time here at home on the farm with my family,” Joel answers.
“I want to build a sustainable farm that we can keep in the family,” Tim adds. The brothers are both active in the community—Joel in church and Tim in the local farm bureau. “For small farms to be successful and sustainable, they have to have added value,” Tim cautions. “I like it that Pete and Gerry’s limits farmers to two barns. It keeps the farms small and offers opportunities to more farmers.” Joel agrees. “This is a means of developing something for our children like our parents did for us. I want to continue that legacy and make this a sustainable farm that we can pass on to the next generation.”
Joel is a mechanic
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