Houston farm family wins environmental award

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For the third year in a row, an Allen Harim farm family was presented with the Environmental Stewardship Award on Monday during Delaware Ag Week.

Randy and Jordan McCloskey own Single Silo Farm in the Houston area of Kent County, DE where they own four chicken houses and grow about 136,800 chickens per flock. They also farm 500 acres of grain.

The family built the chicken houses a few years ago to help diversify their business, and because they were looking for additional fertilizer options for their crops. The couple, who started dating in high school, both agreed that choosing to grow chickens for Allen Harim was “one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.”

In presenting the award, Delaware Nutrient Management Administrator Chris Brosch explained why they were chosen. “As part of their efforts to be good environmental stewards, the McCloskeys have utilized diverse road-side plantings to help reduce dust, control odors, and increase aesthetics; a stormwater pond on the farm is fed by seven swales; and they follow a nutrient management plan that utilizes their poultry litter for soil health benefits. When farming is done for the day, both Jordan and Randy serve as ambassadors for the industry speaking with neighbors about the antibiotic-free chicken they raise and debunking myths surrounding the industry,” he said.

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(From left to right) Chris Brosch, Nutrient Management Administrator for the Delaware Department of Agriculture, Ed Jewell, Housing Manager for Allen Harim, Jordan McCloskey, Randy McCloskey, Delaware Nutrient Management Commission Chairman Bill Vanderwende, and Delaware Nutrient Management Commissioner Jessica Imhof.

“The McCloskeys exemplify what young farmers are all about,” said Rory DeWeese, Senior Director of Live Operations for Allen Harim. “They are always looking for ways to improve and do more and we appreciate the work they put into their business.”

Randy McCloskey, 34, is a third-generation farmer, and he and his wife Jordan have three children, ages 10, 8 and 6. Jordan gave up a teaching career to help out on the farm, and when her oldest daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, she knew it was the right decision.

The top award comes with $1,000 cash prize, a lane sign to display on the farm, and a plaque.

This is the third year that an Allen Harim grower has been selected for this top award. Last year, Scott Willey and Ted Layton were honored for their 44-acre farm near Milford (2016), and Chris Lesniowski was honored for his 150-acre farm near Marydel (2015).

Headquartered in Seaford, Delaware, Allen Harim operates a chicken processing facility in Harbeson, Delaware; a breeding operation in Liberty, North Carolina; a hatchery in Dagsboro, Delaware, and a hatchery and feed mill in Seaford. The company employs more than 1,750 people in the United States, as well as more than 220 independent growers and 17 company farms across Delmarva.

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