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Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies

Tea and Chicken on the ProFILE 2021 Bus Trip

Date Posted: September 16, 2021

One of the first stops on the 2021 ProFILE trip the Delta region of Mississippi and Louisiana featured a very southern welcome: A glass of iced tea.

We were there for a walking tour of The Great Mississippi Tea Company tea farm. From starting their own seeding to creating the final tea products. It was amazing to see all the hard work and detail that goes into making tea.

They can make all their varieties of tea no matter what variety the plant might be. It all depends on the leaves they pick. The first two leaves and a bud make green tea and the first three leaves and a bud make the black tea along with their other teas.

They shared with us all the challenges they faced knowing nothing about tea seven years ago to where they are today. By networking with other tea growers around the world and perseverance. They now have proto type harvester they are testing for a company in Australia. Which is saving them hours of manual harvesting.

When they couldn’t keep up with picking in their first planting spot they have changed the new fields with planting in Honey Locas trees to keep the tea plants growing more consistency under a little shade. Then on the processing side since they can’t do sun withering outside they created racks with UV-B light to mimic the process indoors.

Our next stop was to Mississippi Farm Bureau member Todd Waltman’s poultry operation. He grows contract broilers for Sanderson. Todd talked about the changes he’s seen in the industry. From growing 10-pound chickens when he first started to seven pound chickens now.

He follows what Sandersons tells him needs to be done. For instance keeping litter on the barn floor to keep the chickens feet clean since they are a high export item for them now.  Or how to configure the air flow through his barns to be more efficient. Todd says the chickens grow better in the old barn with the higher ceiling though. With the buyout of Sanderson to Cargill and Continental Grain. We will have to wait and see what changes this will bring for him. Just like in Michigan we face the same issue of limited processors.