A Rural Rebirth, One Ag Business at a Time

Earlier this summer I visited Becca Selkirk at her Wayne County, IN farm, Unique 2 Eat, where she raises quail, chickens, and rabbits. She sells the eggs from her quail and chickens, along with rabbit meat. And she has two goats just for fun.

I was researching a story for Farm Indiana, having met her through Carthage Mill. (You might remember founder Anna Welch’s powerful guest post, “The Face of Resilience,” from a few months back.)

The mill is a sustainable agriculture business incubator, and its existence allowed Becca to expand into animal feed.

Becca Selkirk with a handful of her locally grown and milled feed.

Becca Selkirk with a handful of her locally grown and milled feed.

Using all organic and local ingredients, such as Fields of Agape‘s black bean halves and flax seeds, she’s developed a high-quality chicken feed. At 19 percent protein, her layer feed out-competes the industry standard. It’s all ground right onsite.

She markets her products at the mill and through Hoosier Harvest Market, the online marketplace that delivers small farmers’ and producers’ wares to several drop points.

I interviewed one Carthage resident who made the switch for his chickens and was thrilled with the result. “The quality of it’s great,” Devon Hamilton told me. “And my birds look healthier.” He says the price point is only slightly higher than what he was buying. And it’s worth it to him to know the ingredients were locally and sustainably raised.

Next on Becca's list is a formula for quail feed.

Next on Becca’s list is a formula for quail feed.

Plus, he wants to support the new venture. “I was there one day when Becca was mixing (the feed),” he says, “and she was working very hard. It’s very labor-intensive.” He feels that Becca has priced her feed appropriately, given everything that goes into it.

Becca is also one of the principals of local fertilizer maker Sterling Formulations, another company leasing space at Carthage Mill. And I just found out that she’s been able to expand into another new line. She’s cooking up ready-to-eat soups and developing a gluten-free pizza crust for “take-and-bake.”

She’s only been able to do this because of Carthage Mill: It has a commercial kitchen that’s certified for use in organic food production.

This is rural revitalization, one small ag business at a time.

Check out the full Farm Indiana story on Unique 2 Eat Farm. (Warning: adorable fuzzy animal photos involved—Josh Marshall‘s photography is terrific as always.) For more on Carthage Mill, see “Cooperative Offers Rural Rebirth,” my Acres USA story.

 

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