William Claybaugh of Carroll grew up taking care of laying hens. He remembers feeding chickens back when he was four years old on his family's farm. Some things never change. Today, Claybaugh and his sister, Julie, own Nebraska Eggs Ltd., caring for a half-million laying hens, producing 10 million dozen eggs each year.
Earlier this year, Claybaugh joined his father, Joe, and grandfather, J. H., as the third generation in the Claybaugh family to be inducted into the Nebraska Poultry Hall of Fame. He also serves as the current president of the Midwest Poultry Federation.
Claybaugh says that the industry has become very efficient. "There are less people involved, but we're producing more eggs with less people," he says. "Agriculture is by far the most efficient industry in the world."
There is more red tape than years ago, Claybaugh says. New requirements from numerous federal and state agencies have changed the way poultry producers operate. They are also consistently concerned about animal husbandry and flock health issues. Recent increases in feed costs and grain prices have cut into producers' bottom lines, he says.
"Feed costs account for 60% of our cost of production," Claybaugh says. Because of the cost of feed and the need to manage flock nutrition, the Claybaughs added TWJ Feed Mill in Carroll to their operation in 1985.
Involvement in the industry and in local community organizations are key aspects of farm life. He has served as an ambassador for agriculture, serving on countless committees and volunteering for community and county organizations as well. With family farming connections in Wayne County that go back more than 100 years, "the community has been good to us, so we need to return the favor," Claybaugh explains.
If you'd like more information on Claybaugh's operation and Nebraska's poultry and egg industry, watch for a future print article in Nebraska Farmer.