ATLANTA — Backes Turkey Farm of Eldon, Mo., was one of five farms across the United States to receive the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award during the 2023 International Production & Processing Expo in Atlanta, Ga. USPOULTRY sponsors the annual awards in recognition of exemplary environmental stewardship by family farmers engaged in poultry and egg production.
Applicants were rated in several categories, including manure management, nutrient management planning, community involvement, wildlife enhancement techniques, innovative nutrient management techniques, and participation in education and outreach programs. Applications were reviewed and farm visits conducted by a team of environmental professionals from universities, regulatory agencies and state poultry associations.
Glenn and Tracey Backes raise 25,000 turkeys per flock for Cargill. After each flock, litter is removed from the turkey houses and stored in a covered litter shed to protect it from the environment until it can be used as fertilizer. With their farm in operation since 2001, the Backes have a lot of experience in litter application. Prior to application on their own land or providing it to neighbors, the litter is analyzed for nutrient content. The soil at the intended application site is tested as well. This ensures that nutrients will not be over- or underapplied. Of particular concern to Glenn is ensuring that phosphorous does not build up in the soil. After researching land management practices, he made the decision to replace the fescue grass in his hay fields with Sudan grass. Glenn discovered that Sudan grass is able to continue removing phosphorous from the soil during hot weather, when fescue goes dormant.
Glenn and his family show their commitment to their community in many ways. One of his greatest joys is helping with a Thanksgiving meal program through the Central Missouri Foster and Adoption Agency. Over the past several years, this program has supplied a Thanksgiving dinner to 125 families that adopted a child or who opened their home to provide foster care to a child in need.
Mikell Fries, president of Claxton Poultry Farms and vice chairman for the USPOULTRY Board of Directors, presented the award to Glenn and Tracey Backes.