Year in Review

Pondering here for a few moments about 2013, as we move through a March with the deepest snow cover and banks higher than we have seen in 30 years, this past year was exciting, challenging, and sometimes near overwhelming. A late spring, very high commodities pricing, May rains and high amounts of waste water contributing to nitrogen depletion, a couple of challenging but fun expansion projects, demolition of the old bank barn and silo, a very late harvest with high moistures, and an early winter all have molded our memories of the past 12 months. Zack graduated in May from MSU with a BS in Ag Business. He and Priscilla moved back to Oceana County full time and they began their “full time” careers here on the farm. In fact, we helped all 3 of our kids and their spouses move this year, the other two both buying and selling their homes. The year had no dull moments, perhaps not nearly as expansive as the 2012 new turkey facility construction, but it seemed to be just as full. We said in 2012 that God had a “sense of humor” with the 3 weddings on top of the project of a lifetime. This year we must continue to say God is Good. There were times it felt like he was putting us to the test, times of sentimental reflection as the 100 year old barn went away with all of its memories, times with roller coaster like emotions as Beth and Andy watched their family blossom into new and different directions-wondering what this new stage will be like, and times of rejoicing as we finally did get our harvest all in on December 6th just in the nick of time-some didn’t. We could not have pulled it off without our team of dedicated employees. We try our best, sometimes that isn’t enough, and sometimes it works out. As we feel it is important, we want to acknowledge our great Creator God. His Beautiful handiwork is all around us, He has given us health and strength and minds to use for His glory, and most of all He has given us Himself. Without the Holy Spirit we are nothing- Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

So a full year of 2x turkey production is behind us and we learned that double production probably means double challenges. The new barns are great and we have continued to learn and improve their use, however we certainly haven’t arrived. We have learned to appreciate the cool new features and look forward to improving our lbs out the door at profitable levels. Unfortunately, 2013 was a challenging year due to the turkey meat market being below cost of production. Zack now has all production records on a spreadsheet and is working toward all costs included so we can better focus on our weak areas.

Although the harvest went long due to very wet conditions, we had average crop yields this year and we also had average numbers in our hog production. The combination of the drawn out harvest and the long, cold winter took a toll on our LP gas usage and we were caught needing to buy extremely high priced fuel to get through the winter.


Two of the large projects completed in 2013 and shown in pictures here were the Grain Expansion and scale. The Grain Project takes us to the next level of capability with a 2nd leg for dedicated wet and dry. We also jack-hammered out our old pit and installed a higher capacity drag line for unloading, and the new bin is twice as large as our others at 80,000 plus bushels, bringing our total storage close to 250,000 bu. The 80’ platform digital truck scale has quickly became a very nice partner to many aspects of the operation. Incoming feed, fertilizer, and wet crops as well as corn and turkey litter being sold off the farm, are just a few of the daily ones that make use of the scale.

The other project was the demolition of the old bank barn and silo. Easier said than done, you can watch the silo demolition via the YouTube link here on our website. We took several loads to the scrap yard over the summer and tried to save a lot of the old barn wood siding and beams. With the old foundations dug out and hauled away, we leveled the site and we are making plans for the long anticipated “new shop”. This is the focus for the summer at Snider Farms as we plan to build a new shop and company offices on the site of the old barn. We want to use some of the siding and beams from the old barn as some of the interior finish of the new entry and offices.

2014 is going to be fun and exciting and as always challenging. The new shop will be all of those but even bigger in our new multi family business. Priscilla is doing great learning the ins and outs of the office working with Beth and Zack is fully engaged in day to day operations making us wonder how we did everything before they were here! We have a goal to complete a beautiful shop building before harvest and have the offices up and running with new software before the end of the year-we’ll see. Those who never set goals always hit them.

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