Pennsylvania Egg Farmer’s 40,000 Hens Saved from Culling by Plan Devised by Woman on Facebook

In the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, nestled among the rolling hills and lush farmlands, lies Wind Crest Farm, home to 80,000 laying hens.

Josh Zimmerman, the farm’s owner, has been in the egg business for years, supplying bulk eggs to institutions like schools, hospitals, and cruise ships. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in early 2020, Zimmerman found himself facing an unprecedented crisis.

The Pandemic’s Devastating Impact on the Egg Industry

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Image Credit: MaryShutterstock/Shutterstock.

As the nation shut down to slow the spread of the virus, Zimmerman’s bulk-egg processor ran out of storage space and demand. Schools closed their doors, hospitals reduced elective procedures, and cruise ships sat idle in ports.

The once-thriving market for liquid eggs had vanished overnight, leaving Zimmerman with a staggering surplus of 60,000 eggs per day.

The egg industry was not alone in its struggle. Across the country, farmers faced similar challenges as supply chains were disrupted and demand patterns shifted dramatically.

Many were forced to dump milk, plow under crops, and euthanize livestock. The pandemic had exposed the fragility of our food system and the vulnerability of the farmers who form its backbone.

A Heartbreaking Decision

With no end to the pandemic in sight and mounting financial losses, Zimmerman was faced with a heartbreaking decision. He contemplated killing half his flock to cut his losses.

The thought of euthanizing 40,000 healthy, productive hens weighed heavily on his mind. These were not just units of production; they were living creatures that he had raised and cared for.

As word of Zimmerman’s plight spread, the community rallied around him. Local news outlets covered the story, and social media buzzed with concern for the farm and its hens.

People wanted to help, but in a time of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, traditional methods of support seemed out of reach.

A Facebook Plan Hatches

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Image Credit: Jirapong Manustrong/Shutterstock.

Enter Timi Bauscher, a local businesswoman who runs the Nesting Box Farm Market and Creamery. When she heard about Zimmerman’s situation, she knew she had to do something.

Bauscher took to Facebook (ref) with a plan: a contactless, drive-through egg sale. She would sell Zimmerman’s eggs for $2 per dozen, with all proceeds going directly to the farm.

The response was overwhelming. The first sale moved 18,000 dozen eggs and generated $36,000, enough to cover Zimmerman’s costs and keep his hens alive.

Customers drove from miles around to support the farm, some waiting in line for over an hour to buy eggs.

Community Support Saves the Day

In the weeks that followed, Bauscher organized additional sales, moving 22,000-25,000 dozen eggs per week. The community’s support provided a lifeline for Wind Crest Farm, allowing Zimmerman to weather the storm of the pandemic.

The story of Wind Crest Farm is a testament to the power of community in times of crisis. When faced with the unthinkable, people came together to support a local farmer and prevent the needless waste of food and life.

It’s a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there is hope to be found in the kindness and generosity of others.

Lessons for the Future

As we reflect on the challenges of the past year, it’s clear that our food system needs to be more resilient and adaptable. We must find ways to support farmers and ensure that the food they produce reaches those who need it, even in the face of disruptions like a global pandemic.

The story of Wind Crest Farm and the community that rallied around it offers valuable lessons for the future. It shows us that by working together, we can overcome even the most daunting of challenges.

Let us work towards a more sustainable, equitable, and resilient food system, one that values the hard work and dedication of farmers like Josh Zimmerman. For in their stories, we find hope for a better future.

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Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.