Family: Husband, Gary; children, Elli, Matt, Josh, Katherine and Julia; and 12 grandchildren.
Hometown: Highfill, Ark.
In Town: “Although we first met while working at a department store, we began our relationship a few years later, the day after Gary had enlisted in the Navy during the Vietnam era, and eventually married. In 2007, we moved to Arkansas to take care of aging parents. In 2012, we opened Swanson Heating and Air because construction firms wanted someone younger with fewer credentials and because heating and air was the easiest license for us to get considering Gary had a degree in construction science supported by much experience in that field. The Bentonville area was growing, and we felt the market was there. Our business has grown steadily, and we have two full-time employees including our son Josh. I have spent many years in ministry and believe integrity is essential in a healthy business. In addition, we want customers more than satisfied; I want them feeling secure and safe while paying reasonable prices.”
In the Country: “In 2012 we also bought 12 acres in Highfill, Ark., near the Bentonville airport. We significantly improved the property including a cottage for my mother. Sarah and I decided we wanted to raise fully pastured poultry, hopefully as retirement income and because the investment was not nearly as expensive as cattle. We have since learned that our chickens are more of a lifestyle choice for children and grandchildren rather than a financial choice. In the field, we use hoop houses which are moved every day so the chickens have fresh grass and bugs and so the dung can decompose and eliminate any need for fertilizer. Our laying hens are able to roost in the barn where they also have laying boxes. Out in the pasture, the layers have shelter where they can escape from predators like hawks or use it for shade. We use well water with waterers in the barn and in the field using a font system. Non-GMO feed is always available both in the barn and in the shelter though the chickens often choose to eat more grass and bugs than feed. At one time we had 400 chickens, raising 2,000 in one year by running a seven-week broiler operation in addition to layers. We have just downsized and are currently selling our stock of frozen chicken to individuals. We sell whole chickens and parts including feet and livers. Our present laying operation consists of 80 chickens of various breeds producing 25 to 30 dozen eggs of various colors per week. We sell our eggs to two restaurants as well as individuals.”
Future: “While our children are not interested in the chicken business, they love the country life. Grandkids eagerly help with chores, gathering eggs and feeding our two steers. They also love going for tractor rides and mowing using the big mower. Sarah and I have decided as we get older to make another and more gradual transition to grass fed beef rather than layers because the process is far less labor intensive as we get older. We will very soon be getting our first commercial bred heifers as the first step in this transition.”http://www.ozarksfn.com/2017/09/11/sarah-swanson/http://www.ozarksfn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Swanson-1024x683.jpghttp://www.ozarksfn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Swanson-150x150.jpgArkansas / Oklahoma Town & CountryTown & CountryArkansas,Bentonville,chicken,commercial bred heifers,grass fed beef,Highfill,Poultry,Sarah SwansonFamily: Husband, Gary; children, Elli, Matt, Josh, Katherine and Julia; and 12 grandchildren. Hometown: Highfill, Ark. In Town: “Although we first met while working at a department store, we began our relationship a few years later, the day after Gary had enlisted in the Navy during the Vietnam era, and eventually...Terry RoppTerry Roppterrymerrill@hotmail.comAuthorOzarks Farm & Neighbor Newspaper