Shown above are (from the left): Terry Wehrkamp, Cooper Farms Director of Live Production; Gary Cooper, Cooper Farms COO; Lisa and Tom Lefevre, and Jim Chakeres, Ohio Poultry Association Director. (Submitted photo)
FORT RECOVERY — A Fort Recovery family farm that raises turkeys for Cooper Farms has received recognition. The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association recognized Tom and Lisa Lefevre, with the Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award, North Central Region. The award, which recognizes exemplary environmental stewardship by family farmers engaged in poultry and egg production, was presented on January 28, 2014 at the International Poultry Expo, a part of the 2014 International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta, Georgia.
“Tom and Lisa are absolutely perfect examples of what being a turkey grower is all about,” said Bill Staugler, Cooper Farms Turkey Growout Manager. “Anyone who knows the Lefevres, has seen that Tom has constant dedication doing things the right way for the animals, as well as the land, water and community.”
The Lefevre family started growing tom turkeys for Cooper Farms well over a decade ago, after raising turkeys on their own for many years prior. Lefevres are one of Cooper Farms’ largest growers, with a total of 12 barns in three different locations, which house the turkeys from five weeks of age to their market age of just under 21 weeks.
“The Lefevres epitomize the reality of the modern family farm,” said Terry Wehrkamp, Cooper Farms Director of Live Production. “They are up early and to bed late, working hard on their livestock and poultry operations and other sideline ventures. They are truly resourceful, efficient, care deeply about the environment, their animals and their place within the community. But, family comes first for the Lefevres and having fun, while they are doing what they love, comes naturally.”
The Lefevres go above and beyond in all that they do, and environmental stewardship is no exception. Projects such as the creation of a comprehensive nutrient management plan through the USDA’s Department of Natural Resources Conservation Service, proper manure application with routine manure and soil sampling, construction of retention ponds which capture runoff water and irrigate water in the summer month and installation of specialized waterways and filter strips to reduce soil erosion and much more.
In September 2013, the Lefevres were recognized at a 2013 Environmental Stewardship Award winner at the Ohio Livestock Coalition Annual Meeting, similarly recognizing their many accomplishments as a family farm which protects Ohio’s land, air and water quality.
“We are very proud to see the hard work of one of our excellent growers acknowledged on this national level,” said Wehrkamp. “We have always known that we have partnered with some amazing farm families to raise our animals to market, and the Lefevres are a shining example of that. Their dedication to being great farmers is exemplified by this award and it is truly a deserved honor.”
The US Poultry Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award is rated in several categories, including dry litter 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 trade associations to select the national winners from each of the six geographical regions.