MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Robby and Kathy Nichols of Nichols Farm in Letohatchee, Ala., have been named the Alabama Poultry & Egg Association’s Alabama Poultry Farm Family of the Year for 2015.
The Nichols grow poultry for Koch Foods of Montgomery. They have eight 40-foot x 500-foot houses, all built between 1999 and 2001, in which they grow 8 pound birds. In 2007, Robby Nichols built three 66-foot x 600-foot houses, but has since sold them to his son, Clay.
Since building his older houses, Nichols has continued to make improvements and updates to the houses. All have had curtains replaced with solid sidewalls and has installed attic vents. Always open to innovation, through the years he has worked closely with the National Poultry Technology Center at Auburn University to help their research. He is just finishing a project to evaluate LED lighting.
The Nichols’ production is also always in the top percentage of Koch Foods growers.
Nichols grew up working in partnership with his father on the family dairy farm. In the early 1990s, with declining profitability in the dairy business, he began looking for another career path. He had a cousin who had gone into the poultry growout business, and he was intrigued.
Unfortunately, Sylvest Farms, the closest integrator was not adding any growers, so Nichols had to wait. In 1998, he got the call that he had been waiting for, and in 1999 he built his first six houses. From then on he hasn’t looked back.
Robby and Kathy Nichols have three children and six grandchildren, with a seventh due soon. They are active in their church, where Kathy Nichols teaches Sunday school. Robby Nichols is also on a number of civic boards.