Wilcox Family Farms of Roy, Washington are “committed to producing healthy, safe food, in a way that promotes social justice for employees in a friendly environment.” A 100 Year Family tradition, Wilcox Family Farms earned their Certified Humane certification in 2007 and came into the Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) program as a “split operation” because they were transitioning from cage to cage-free production.
In a split operation, only the hens raised and handled under the HFAC Animal Care Standards can be Certified Humane®, and are kept in a separate location from the other animals, with no comingling allowed. HFAC only certifies cage-free production, but will approve a split operation when the farmer makes a written commitment to convert all his production to cage free.
In 2007, Wilcox Family Farms had 28,000 cage free laying hens. Over the next four years the farm steadily increased its conversion from cage to cage free. In 2011, the number of cage free laying hens had risen to 133,298; an over 475% increase in humane production.
“With each barn conversion costing about $1.5 million, plus additional costs in employee training, the investment being made to improve the welfare of Wilcox Family Farm chicken is significant and commendable.” said Douglass. She called the reforms taking place at the Wilcox Farms “remarkable and solid evidence of a personal and corporate commitment to improving the welfare of farm animals.
Andy Wilcox said his family’s collective “experience and observation has shown that cage free hens show the most natural behavior, least amount of stress and produce the best eggs for our customers.” He added that the conversion from cage to cage free production was not cheap but the expense of converting his cage barns to cage free systems was well worth the investment in construction costs and additional employee training to better understand the behavior and care of cage free laying hens.
Certified Humane® eggs from the Wilcox Family Farms can be found at supermarkets throughout the Pacific Northwest including Albertsons Warehouse, Costco and Wal-Mart.
Douglas added: “The investments made by the Wilcox Family Farms demonstrate the powerful impact that the Certified Humane® program has in promoting and requiring steady improvements in farm animal welfare. The investments necessary to display the Certified Humane® brand are good for the animals and they are good for the business of farming.”
For information on where to find Wilcox Family Farms products and other Certified Humane® products in your area, visit the “Where to Buy” page of HFAC’s website, or visit Wilcox Family Farm’s website.
To read about other Certified Humane® producers, visit our Farm/Ranch/Business Profiles – Archive.