Farm Family Aims to Educate and Dispel Myths about Animal Agriculture
Cooley Farms, founded in 1985 by Larry and Terri Cooley, debuted a new Poultry Learning Center at their Roberta, Georgia farm this week. At this new educational facility, the family will host guests of all ages for a transparent, interactive experience to learn about various aspects of poultry farming and proper animal care.
Built seamlessly into the side of a working chicken house, the learning center includes a large viewing room that allows guests to observe the birds undisturbed in their environment. Educational videos explain what visitors see inside the chicken house, as well as the timeline from when farmers receive the birds to how they raise and care for them while they’re on the farm. Additionally, guests have the opportunity for hands-on learning using actual poultry equipment that replicates what they see through the window including mechanized feeders and waterers, and automated temperature control technology.
The Cooleys, a multi-generation farm family, have been raising poultry for Perdue Farms since 2004 and are the second Perdue farm family to install a viewing room at their farm.
“We’ve hosted field trips and tours for years and always loved sharing what we’re so proud to do every day. Our new viewing room and learning center will allow us to host even more students, educators, city and state leaders, media, and any others interested in learning about agriculture and raising animals,” said Cooley Farms co-founder, owner and operator, and principal tour guide, Terri Cooley.
“This learning center has been a dream of my mom’s for a while, and she’s been the driving force behind making it a reality. The family saw her vision and pulled together to bring it to life,” said Cooley Farms co-owner and operator, Leighton Cooley. “There’s a lot of bad information out there about animal agriculture. We want to help people understand where their food comes from and how our animals are raised, and openly discuss any misconceptions they might have. We are proud to raise chickens for Perdue and share likeminded values regarding animal care and doing things the right way.”
“It’s a family business. We have a history of poultry farming going back four generations and are incredibly gratified to grow food that we are proud to feed our children and their children, while instilling the values that come with farming, such as hard work, dedication, humility, gratitude, and compassion for our animals and land,” said Cooley Farms co-founder, owner and operator, Larry Cooley. “We’re humbled by the opportunity to share our passion with others.”
During a celebration at the farm to officially open the new facility, the Cooley family hosted more than 100 guests for inaugural tours, highlighted key partners who helped make the project possible, and welcomed speakers including Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, American Farm Bureau Federation executive director of industry relations Sarah Brown Dirkes, president of the Georgia Poultry Federation Mike Giles, and Perdue Farms chairman Jim Perdue.
“Together, we’re focused on the best possible care for our animals, and putting wholesome food on people’s tables,” said Perdue Farms chairman Jim Perdue. “The Cooley family has built a new way to educate people on how we do that. We’re moving from telling people what we do, to opening our doors and letting them come see for themselves – it’s the next step in transparency.”
“Our company is turning 100 years old next year, and we would not have made it this far without committed partners like the Cooleys. As someone who comes from a family company, this means a lot to me personally,” added Perdue.