Spotlight on Galloway Poultry Farm in Oneonta, Alabama
Pilgrim's is proud to honor David and Deborah Galloway of the Galloway Poultry Farm in Oneonta, Alabama, for their conscientious farming practices and the way they conduct business.
Michael Green, service tech for the Pilgrim's complex in Guntersville, Alabama, notes that Galloway has an excellent performance track record and has outstanding character as well.
"He is a grower that you don't have to worry about; he takes care of business. He's very humble, honest and just a great person to work with," says Green.
Galloway Poultry Farm has four chicken houses on 72 acres in which they raise 16,800 chickens per house. They raise five flocks a year; amounting to over 300,000 chickens per year. They also raise about 30 head of black angus cattle on their land.
"My day starts at four or five a.m. every morning. I walk through to check on the chickens and fix things that have to be fixed," says Galloway. "After that I take care of my cows. In the summertime, there's baling 300 to 400 bales of hay to do. Stuff around the farm must be taken care of. It takes your day up, takes most of your time. I check that everything's OK with the chickens several times a day, and between flocks we clean out the houses to get them ready for another flock. We have a garden every year and we have that to take care of too."
Carrying on Tradition
David and Deborah work the farm alongside each other and raised three children on the land: Beth, mother of daughters Britlyn and Madelyn; Amanda, mother of daughter Eva; and Steven, who lives across the road from the farm where he grew up.
"It was good for the kids to grow up on a farm," says Galloway. "They learned about being at work. Not just going and punching a clock, but they learned the meaning of really working by being on the farm. They learned a lot of stuff that some kids are not able to learn, seeing first-hand what really goes on. They've been blessed to be able to be on the farm."
David Galloway took the farm over from his parents, A.G. and Marzel, who moved there from Rainbow City when David was in the sixth grade. They worked the land for about 15 years until David and Deborah took over the farm in 1970. David Galloway also worked full time as a machinist for 28 years, until he retired to the farm full-time in 2004.
Growing a Farm
Originally, the family did not produce chicken. The first chicken houses were built in 1986, when they contracted with Gold Kist (which was acquired by Pilgrim's in 2006). They built another house in 1989 and then grew from there.
Over time, the farm has weathered many storms, some more damaging than others. Two chicken houses had to be completely rebuilt when they collapsed under the weight of rare Alabama blizzards; the three- to four- week-old chickens had to be transferred to another of the chicken houses. A third chicken house was completely blown away in a tornado; thankfully, they were between flocks and no chickens were harmed. Most recently, a fire of unknown cause burned down David Galloway's tool shop.
Still, the couple kept right on rebuilding their chicken houses and moving forward with their farm, working from before dawn until dusk.
Clean and Safe for the Environment
The Galloways are environmentally conscientious farmers. They test their soil annually, compost dead chickens, monitor the amount of litter they put on their fields in the winter, keep litter in a dry stack barn, stick to best practices to keep the amount of waste down, and keep waste and chemicals away from the creeks and lakes.
"He has a well-kept, clean farm," says Green. "He recycles his litter for every flock, he washes down his houses between every flock and his control room is clean as can be."
The Galloways belong to Robin Hill Missionary Baptist Church, the Farmers Federation through Alfa Insurance and the Alabama Poultry Growers Association.
"Galloway's performance is really good, he's as humble and honest as any of the growers that we've got and he's got a good spirit," remarks Green.
"I've always been fond of the poultry business, it's something I've always liked. I thought I would like to get into it, and I did. I really enjoy it."