Monthly Archives: April 2016

Dan Coady, nanomedical researcher to pastured poultry farmer

DSC_0048For six years, Dan Coady conducted research for a multinational technology corporation in California, until one day he decided to move to rural southwest Georgia to become a farmer. Today he leads the country’s largest pastured poultry operation, and we are lucky to have him.

Dan had found quite a bit of success as a scientist. He developed nearly 100 patented scientific processes and won the American Chemical Society’s Young Investigator award. But he began to believe there was a more meaningful way for him to utilize his skill sets and spend his time, producing healthy food for his family and community. He fully agrees with the famous Hippocrates quote, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Dan left the nanomedical research field and moved with his wife and their two young daughters to Bluffton. Together with his White Oak Pastures team, Dan now raises 60,000 broiler chickens, 12,000 laying hens, 8,200 turkeys, 7,600 ducks, 6,000 guinea fowl and 3,000 geese entirely on pasture and processed here on the farm.

As White Oak Pastures’ Poultry Manager, Dan’s PhD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry and his experience in research and development come in handy more often than you might think. He sees the farm as a puzzle, with the many facets of production, processing, and marketing as the pieces. He describes the poultry operation as its own puzzle, and he uses creative problem solving to find the best ways to rotate the birds, provide housing, and increase feed conversion, all while working within nature’s perfect system.

The slower pace of the farm lifestyle suits the Coady family well, too. The kids love riding in tractors and eating in our on-farm dining Pavilion. Right now their favorite meal is Chef Reid’s pastured poultry special, of course: a chicken breast stuffed with spicy Italian turkey sausage. The Coady family believes they made the right decision when they moved from California to White Oak Pastures, and we couldn’t agree more.

Categories: Staff Spotlight | Tags: | 6 Comments

Unintended consequences: The resurgence of the bald eagle

All of us really revere the iconic North American predator species. We’ve got grizzly bears, timber wolves, cougars, and eagles. We name our sports teams and our Boy Scout troops after them, we see them on tee shirts, and they are all endangered or threatened.

We often hear that loss of habitat is the reason these predator species are endangered, but after causing a resurgence of bald eagles in southwest Georgia, Will Harris has another theory. 

Soon after we began raising pastured poultry, we started seeing bald eagles on the farm for the first time. The eagles ate dead chickens and thinned our flock of the weaker ones. By working with nature on our farm instead of against it, we had created an environment where not only our livestock thrives, but wildlife can thrive, too. In contrast, keeping food animals inside factories starves the wildlife that depends on it.

With few other food sources nearby and our pastured poultry operation growing, more and more bald eagles made White Oak Pastures their home. Eagles began aggressively killing large numbers of healthy chickens, and we could not keep up with the losses. Eagles are an isolationist species, and overpopulation leads to fighting, rapid spread of disease, and loss of the natural ability to hunt. The eagles became overpopulated to the point that we’ve enlisted Fish and Wildlife Services to work with us on deterring the eagles using non-lethal harassment methods, to return the population on our farm to a healthy number. 7 or 8 eagles on one farm is great, but 78 is too many.

We now believe part of the demise of the iconic predator species in our country is a function of confinement animal farming which doesn’t give nature a fair opportunity to do its job. We wonder how much of a resurgence of these threatened species we would see if more farmers let their food animals out of captivity and let Mother Nature’s natural selection process work.

(Photos by Backlight Photography)

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Good news: We bought 250 acres of worthless land


It takes more than time to restore Georgia’s soil to the way it was before industrial farming practices added chemical fertilizers and pesticides and removed the biodiversity and nutrients. It takes us buying the land in the first place. Well, check that box, to the tune of 250 acres.

Our little experiment in the de-industrialization of agriculture is becoming less little all the time.

So what are we going to do with that 250 acres of degraded soil? Exactly what we’ve done with our other 1,500 acres: repair and fertilize the soil using century-old methods and the Serengeti Grazing Model of an unconfined, natural rotation of livestock. We recently moved a small number of our cattle onto the land to eat hay. They will urinate and defecate to feed the soil, and their hooves will break apart and aerate the land, preparing it for the planting of warm-season perennial grasses.

It will take years of good animal-land management to rebuild this eroded soil, but it’s an investment we know is important to continuing our commitment to regenerative animal agriculture.

Not surprisingly, most of the arable land in south Georgia is under someone else’s control. Some of it is conventional farming, some of it is in hunting reserves or timber farming. But we buy when we can buy. We lease when we can lease. We’re on a mission and we just got 250 acres closer to our goal.

Categories: Regenerative Land Management | Tags: , , | 24 Comments

How to make grassfed beef bone broth

At White Oak Pastures, we take pride in using every part of the animals we process, and broths are a way to utilize the strong, nutrient-dense bones. Check out Chef Reid’s easy how-to video and instructions for making beef bone broth at home. Enjoy this broth by itself as a rich, nourishing supplement or add it to soups and sauces for added flavor and nutrition.


  • 10 pounds White Oak Pastures grassfed beef bones. In this recipe, we used canoe, knuckle, marrow, oxtail, and rib bones, but choose any combination that you’d like.
  • 2 large onions, quartered
  • 3 medium-sized carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 5 stalks of celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place bones in a large, shallow roasting pan. Bake bones 30-45 minutes, or until well browned, turning at the 15-minute mark. Remove from oven.

Move bones into a large pot. Pour 1/2 cup water into the roasting pan and use a wooden spatula to scrape up any fond (crusty browned bits). Add the fond mixture to the pot, then add onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves, and vinegar. Add water to cover the mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 24-48 hours.

Over a large heatproof bowl, strain broth through a fine-mesh sieve, or a colandar lined with cheesecloth or 2 layers of paper towels. Remove bones, vegetables and seasoning.

Chill broth, then lift off the fat. Store fat in the refrigerator for 1 month, or freeze for 6 months to a year. Store broth in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze for 6 months to a year.

Categories: Kitchen | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

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