Most people think that farming is about the land, the animals, the daily chores and it is….but there is another part of farming. PAPERWORK, and oh, my goodness, is there a lot of it! Farms are businesses and businesses generate a lot of paperwork.

The last few days have been spent on bills, invoicing, financial statements and production records, but there is more. As the new year approaches, I have been wanting to be more organized and I spent a day putting together papers from various files into binders. I love spending time outside, but I’m also a paperwork person and when things are in disarray, I get frustrated.

blog-48_01In this photo you will see that I have a couple of BIG binders, one of them just for keeping track of egg production. This daily information is super important, not just because it shows how many eggs the hens lay each day, but we keep track of the eggs that are laid outside of the nest boxes, the mortalities (and any necessary culling that needs to be done). I also track feed deliveries, the weights of the birds and the weights of a case of eggs (180 eggs or 15 dozen). All this weekly information is transferred to a complex spreadsheet that then can track how the birds are doing compared to breed management guides and provide graphs on profit/loss, feed efficiency, egg gradings and MORE!

blog-48_02I also worked on getting together a binder that has information for our industry’s on-farm food safety program, the Start Clean—Stay Clean program (SC-SC). Here’s what is included:

  • Euthanasia certification and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
  • Flock counts and permit information
  • Veterinary Reports
  • Salmonella enteriditis test results
  • Barn schematics
  • Signed copies of Employee Code of Conduct forms
  • Copies of past SC-SC audits for both the layers and the pullets
  • Vaccination records
  • Producer Environmental Egg Program assessments
  • Certification letters from the feed and hatchery companies and the grading stations
  • Water Well Tests
  • Flock History Certificates
  • Animal Care program audit results

blog-48_03These binders are also important for the annual audits. Our industry is no different than others, where we need to do all the right things and prove it, by documenting everything. In addition to all of the above, there is a BIG calendar in every barn that is also part of the SC-SC program. Let me tell you that it was not an easy process to get daily inputting done with 6 different barns and a number of employees. As time went on though, we began to appreciate this information and the ability to see trends and spot potential problems. Here is a few of items we keep track of:

  • Egg cooler temperature and humidity levels
  • Barn temperature
  • Water Consumption
  • Cleaning Tasks (blowing down dust, sweeping, washing) in the cooler, in the barns, in the gathering areas
  • Checking of feed bins, floor drains, lighting
  • Calibration of thermometers
  • Taking of feed samples
  • Barn cleanout schedule, including keeping track of cleaners and disinfectants
  • Rodent and fly station inspections and cleaning of the traps and bait stations
  • Power Backup Generator tests
  • Inspections of birds for illness, injury
  • Equipment Inspections
  • Ammonia concentrations

blog-48_04The above list is just a sampling, but gives a flavour of what we farmers do every day, week, month and year to make sure we do the best job possible. In my burst of efficiency I also updated my Emergency Response Plan, which should be reviewed yearly, but I can tell you has not been done for several years. Thank goodness, most of the information has remained current. No one ever wants to live through an emergency, but disasters can and do happen and being prepared will help keep the stress levels down.

Like every business, there is a long to-do list (both in the barns and here in my office). Next on my list, Farm Safety assessments and the corresponding SOPS (standard operating procedures) to help reduce risk for everyone!

blog-48_05And just because, you stayed awake reading all of this, here is a picture of a lovely Christmas gift I received. Every girl needs a chicken tablecloth!