First-generation organic farmer prepares fields for more production amid increased demand

Local organic growers have stronger reach potential after 2020

FREDERICKSBURG, Texas – A first-generation organic farmer is preparing the fields for more production as more people continue to buy organic foods. The owner of Roam Ranch near Fredericksburg takes pride in his heritage birds, and about 350 of them are rare turkeys ready for eating this Thanksgiving.

Taylor Collins says he’s created an oasis for his livestock, family and the surrounding community at Roam Ranch near Fredericksburg. He says the pandemic has highlighted the need to support what he and other small local farmers provide.

“We sold a lot more meat than we’ve ever sold,” Collins said. “This year has been really an important year for organic and regenerative pasture-raised poultry systems to where consumers are demanding more of that supply.”

As hundreds of heritage turkeys surrounded him, Collins talked about how much these birds give back to his land to restore natural nutrients.

“These are old descendants from wild birds captured up to 5,000 years ago,” he said. “You’ve probably have never had these birds. There’s probably 300 million industrial double-breasted birds grown in the U.S. There’s only 30,000 of these.”

Organic food prices are traditionally higher than conventional food prices. However, a study by MagnifyMoney found that conventional food costs are rising more quickly than organic foods.

Still, the tide is turning. Even before the pandemic and supply chain issues, people were already leaning toward organic foods.

A study by the Organic Trade Association showed U.S. sales of organic food in the last decade more than doubled. In 2020, sales reached more than $56 billion.

Collins, an advocate for land stewardship, says customers can have a say in helping to grow local organic farms.

“The consumer votes with their dollars for which agricultural system will prevail, and this is an agricultural system that heals the planet and nourishes our body,” he said.

About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.