There are a lot of unsung heroes in agriculture. I was reminded of this during our terrible late January cold spell, with our farm reaching temps of -32 degrees. As (bad) luck would have it, we happened to be brooding our first flock of poults for the year, so I was concerned about maintaining enough heat in our brooder barn to keep the baby turkeys comfortable. At its worst, we were trying to maintain a temp 130 degrees warmer than it was outside the barn door. We heat using propane heaters and, although I had faith in the stoves themselves, I had lingering memories of a prior year when the cold air outside the barn caused the propane to stop flowing in. No propane, no heat.

With this in mind, I called our propane company’s truck driver, to ask if he thought we needed to top off our tanks, or if we had enough to maintain pressure through the cold night. He told me he was dealing with a few emergencies elsewhere – furnace failures, empty tanks – and that he thought we’d be fine for a couple days. I trust him, so went back to my work.

A couple hours later, I saw the familiar propane truck come rolling in our farm driveway. By the time I got up to the barn, he was already out, covered head to toe, and trudging through the snow and wind to our gas tanks. I asked him what changed his mind, and he said “I just wanted to make sure you had enough heat. You’ve got a lot of lives in that barn.”

These are the invisible heroes that help us bring food to tables. Propane drivers, feed truck drivers, our own staff plowing snow, all out braving the dangerous cold to ensure that our flocks stay happy and healthy.

In just a couple months, these same birds will be out running on the green grass, and the epic cold will be a distant memory. But I’ll know that this flock’s comfort in its earliest days was supported by a caring driver. One of the many hands involved in the care for our Ferndale flocks.