|Dekalb Farmer Rebounds from April 2011 Storm|
After Tornado Took it All, Now Back in Business
Gary Biddle is a DeKalb County poultry farmer who doesn’t quit when adversity strikes.
Two years ago, Biddle built five 40-foot x 400-foot structures to house approximately 50,000 birds — 40,000 pullets and about 7,500 roosters. Just when it seemed the poultry operation was getting off the ground, it did literally get off the ground as one of the infamous and devastating tornadoes of April 27, 2011, hit the High Point community near Henagar where Biddle lives and wiped out his chicken houses.
Although the tornado dealt Biddle a gigantic blow, taking all his poultry houses plus his litter storage building, he immediately initiated recovery.
The need to make a living for his family, coupled with his love for working at home, motivated Gary to rebuild his poultry houses and, one year later, he’s back in production. He still specializes in growing pullets and keeps them for 22 weeks, at which time they are placed in layer-hen operations on other farms.
With assistance through EQIP, a federal cost-share program administered through the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Biddle has recently completed a 40-foot x 50-foot dry stack, a storage facility for the litter from the poultry houses. The dry stack will allow Biddle to store his litter when clean-out of the poultry houses occurs at times during the year, namely November 15 through February 15, or during rainy weather when regulations issued by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management do not permit the spreading of litter on fields and pastures. The dry stack facility also has a built-in composter where dead birds from the poultry houses are placed for disposal.
With the help of his three sons, Biddle uses the litter from his poultry houses as organic fertilizer for the hay and pastures of his beef cattle operation.