Floyd Freeman FUQUA
Source: The Amarillo Daily News, Amarillo, Potter County, Texas, USA, Thursday Morning, 6 Nov 1941, Page 7.
By RAYMOND HOLBROOK
“Sorry,” replied the storekeeper,” but we are completely out and because of the condition of the roads neither Mrs. Smith nor Mr. Fuqua has been able to bring in any. Of course, we have got the regular eggs. How about a dozen of them?”“No thanks. I’ll just wait until you get some of the others in before I buy,” the Floydadan replied, walking out.
That’s what town folks think about the kind of eggs that Floyd Fuqua and Mrs. Charles Smith of the Floyd County Poultry and Egg Marketing Association have been offering for sale and it represents the clearing of one of the biggest hurdles in egg improvement work - consumer education.In the Panhandle-Plains area, Floyd County has taken the lead in spreading the gospel of quality eggs for the mutual benefit of both the farmer and the consumer. It’s been a rocky road, with many difficulties and some setbacks, but its backers believe that it is now established on a sound basis and ready to tackle much of the work that still lies ahead.
Mainspring in the egg marketing drive has been Floyd Fuqua, soft-spoken farmer who had been raising chickens ever since he deserted school teaching for agriculture back in 1928.And every year since, with the exception of only two seasons, he has kept careful records of his flocks, the eggs they laid, the cost of feeding, the returns from the eggs and the net profits.
Fuqua took pride in the quality of the eggs that his hens produced. He fed them well, provided sanitary housing and was careful in handling his eggs. But when they went to market, they were “just eggs.” Taken in with the run of the mill eggs from hens that ate grasshoppers and roosted in the cow shed, Fuqua’s eggs drew no better prices.Last summer with County Agent D. F. Bredthauer and Home Demonstration Agent Edith Wilson, Fuqua began visiting other farmers and interesting them in the egg improvement program sponsored by the Texas Extension Service that had been so successful in the other parts of the state.
The Floyd County Poultry and Egg Market Association was formed and Fuqua was elected its president. The members contacted local merchants and outlined their plan. For quality eggs that they could guarantee to their customers the storekeepers were willing to pay a premium.Though the membership dwindled and at times the outlook was none too bright, the association was given new impetus and recognition when this summer its two leading members - Mrs. Smith and Mr. Fuqua - were authorized by the Texas Extension Service to market their eggs under the Four-H Brand, the highest “stamp of approval.”
That the plan is fundamentally sound and capable of weathering the difficult times that such programs usually first encountered is borne out by the fact that the Fuqua and Smith eggs are bringing a three cents a dozen premium in Floydada stores and they can’t begin to supply the demand.Floydada housewives know that when they buy a dozen Four-H eggs, they will get 12 good eggs, infertile, totaling at least 23 ounces and most likely more in weight, and of uniform texture and color. They know that the eggs contain all the food elements that eggs should contain and that the whites will stand up and not be watery.
The quality of Floyd County’s Four-H brand eggs are built into them.Take for example, Mr. Fuqua’s flock. He starts with a good blood-tested strain of Leghorns. Then he vaccinated them and sees that they get worm medicine in the bran regularly, because he believes an ounce of prevention is worth more than the famed pound of cure.
“If a hen becomes stricken with some contagious disease, I eliminate her right then. Usually it is impossible to save her and you just endanger the rest of your flock,” he says.And his hens don’t exist on any grasshopper diet. They get plenty of commercial laying mash, oyster shell, grain and green stuff. You can’t produce a quality egg on an inadequate diet, he says.
Sanitation is one of the principal points in Mr. Fuqua’s program. He cleans out the pits under the roosts regularly, has automatic water fountains with guards to keep the hens from walking in them and his hen houses are regularly treated to kill any mites that might creep in.Electric lights that go on long before sunrise are an incentive for the hens to make the most of their feed in the production of eggs.
Many quality eggs are lost because of improper handling. But not on the Fuqua farm. Hens eggs - which account for most of eggs sold under the Four-H brand - are gathered four or five times a day. Pullet eggs - which are just as good as far as quality but are too small in size and weight for the Four-H Brand - are gathered at least twice a day.All eggs are stored in a dugout that maintains an almost constant temperature the year round. Since the eggs are infertile, they’re in no danger of spoilage in this cooling room.
Every egg sold under the Four-H Brand is candled, washed if there are any traces of stain or dirt on the shell, stamped, and carefully packed in Four-H Brand containers.This careful handling of poultry and eggs entails more work but it also assures more profit and a good market. Right now Fuqua’s eggs draw a three cent a dozen premium and sometimes it has been as much as seven cents.
Last year Fuqua’s flock produced 3,272 dozen eggs which sold for an average price of 17.2 cents a dozen while the average cost of production was 9.8 cents. From gross receipts of $562.03 and total costs of $319.91, he netted $242.12 from his flock.This year Mr. Fuqua has approximately 400 birds in his flock including 120 old hens, 220 pullets and 50 late pullets, and the year just now ending he expects even more profit. He expects his pullets to be in full production within the next month or so, increasing the output of the Four-H Brand eggs.
A firm believer in high quality eggs and an association to foster their marketing, Mr. Fuqua believes it’s a program that every Plains county would do well to take up.“Start out on a small scale with the help of your county agent and home demonstration agent and market your eggs locally, he says. “After you once establish your market, you needn’t worry about anything but maintaining the standard of your product and trying at the same time to meet the demand for eggs of real quality.”
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