Rehoboth Ranch turkeys.jpg

Rehoboth Ranch in Hunt County was impacted by the rising costs of raising its turkeys this year.

This Thanksgiving season was different for Mark Hutchins, Hunt County commissioner for Precinct 1 and a local rancher.

Hutchins and his wife, Hillary, own and operate Rehoboth Ranch, which is located just outside the Greenville city limits. Along with their growing children, the couple have managed the second-generation business for about six years.

The ranch specializes in raising turkeys, as well as cows, lambs and pigs, in a natural and humane environment. The turkeys, for instance, are moved freely to new pastures to graze on a regular basis — at least during most years.

Hutchins said the rising costs involved with raising turkeys this year resulted in selling off the flock much earlier than usual.

“The serious increase in feed prices definitely entered into our decision-making, Hutchins said. “At current costs, it would have strained our cash outlay to raise the number of birds we are accustomed to, and we weren’t sure where the economy would be or how it would impact our customer’s decision-making. Consequently, we chose to raise fewer than is usual for us and raised our prices about 20%. We still sold out within a day or two of opening the order system.”

He said Rehoboth Ranch was not concerned about the avian flu scare that arose this year.

“Largely due to the health benefits of our small scale, non-conventional, pasture-based production system,” he said. “It would mostly only worry us directly if there were disease issues in the hatcheries we use, which thankfully hasn’t been a problem thanks to their hard work and quality.

Hutchins believes 2022 was an aberration and that things will return to normal next Thanksgiving.

“Regarding future production, we hope to continue and increase numbers back to a level more in line with prior years,” he said. “Our customers are wonderfully supportive and understanding of how market conditions impact their local farmers. They also really value a high-quality turkey for their Thanksgiving meal because, for many, it’s the centerpiece of the most important traditional meal of the year.”

The name for the ranch was derived from Genesis 26:22

Rehoboth Ranch also sells ground turkey and turkey sausage among its products and can be contacted through the website at rehobothranch.com

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