People, Poultry and Planet: Petaluma Poultry Is a Leader in the Poultry Industry

Written By: Rachel LaFranchi
Published: March 1, 2018

The Sonoma County Company Excels in Sustainability and Animal Welfare

Founded in 1969 by Allan Shainsky, Petaluma Poultry has been a local company for more than 40 years. They returned to their “old fashioned flavor” in 1986 when they began feeding a vegetarian diet, committed to never using antibiotics and introduced Rocky the Free Range Chicken.

Petaluma Poultry took their commitment to the next level in 1999 with the introduction of Rosie the Original Organic Chicken.

The company is a recognized leader in organic poultry production in the US, and their commitment to people, poultry and the planet is what sets them apart. Three P’s were the acronym for Petaluma Poultry (formerly Petaluma Poultry Processors), but they also represent the core values of People, Poultry, and Planet. Additionally, they’re important traits to the company’s customers.

For people, more than 650 employees are very important to Petaluma Poultry. The company believes strongly in safety and making sure the employees go home as good as they arrived or better. They have a health improvement program with a nurse on site to offer optional health consultations to employees.

For the planet, Petaluma Poultry focuses on farming sustainably. They are third party audited, certified and have won multiple awards for their commitment to sustainability.

There are many factors that go into the company’s operations to make them sustainable including erosion control practices, effective use of water, available forage, handling of manure and environmental practices such as how they handle used oil. They have reduced their water and electricity usage and minimized waste.

Petaluma Poultry has a robust recycling program with 56% of materials recycled and a goal to get to 75%. For materials that can’t be recycled, they compost waste from products including egg shells and feathers as well as wax cardboard.

For the poultry, Petaluma Poultry is strongly focused on encouraging the natural behavior of chickens. The company is an innovator in free range and animal welfare. The birds are provided access to the outside, dust baths and other improvements that enhances their ability to be a chicken.

“One of the things we’re really good at is growing chickens in a natural environment that encourages chickens to act naturally,” said Matt Junkel, Vice President of Operations. “We’re completely opposite of a factory farming operation.”

Petaluma Poultry has 20 farms in Sonoma and Marin counties and the Central Valley; they raise approximately 20 million chickens per year.

In addition to their farms, their facilities in Petaluma and the surrounding area include a hatchery, feed mill, farms, a processing plant, administrative office and distribution center.

Petaluma Poultry has an economic benefit to the community of more than $40 million, with a significant portion of money spent on their employees in Sonoma County.

Petaluma Poultry is very involved in the community and provides more than $100,000 in donations a year to local non-profits. They are big supporters of the county fair as well as a community garden in Petaluma. Other organizations that have benefitted from their support include the Polly Klaas Foundation, Petaluma Educational Foundation and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sonoma and Marin County and COTS (Committee on the Shelterless). They’ve also participated in programs focusing on the environment such as the Petaluma River Clean Up that they’ve been involved with for more than 10 years as well at Doran Beach and Russian River Clean Ups.

In 2017, they donated more than 70 tons of food to the Redwood Empire Food Bank, with a large majority going towards wildfire disaster relief. During the October wildfires, Petaluma Poultry also took their Rocky Mobile, a food truck, to five events and provided free meals to first responders and people staying at shelters.

For more information visit petalumapoultry.com

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