Creating a Sustainable Income – and a Home

First Financial Bank
From a long line of row crop farmers, Scott Mincey is laying the foundation for a successful future for his growing family – with chickens.

Scott Mincey feels truly blessed. A wonderful wife, three beautiful kids and a farm that is more than a business, it’s also a home. We had the opportunity to chat with Scott about his background and his life today raising laying hens.

Can you tell us a little about your background? I heard you were in the Navy. How did you get into chicken farming?

My family’s always been farmers, mainly row crops. My daddy and my uncle worked our land together. In 1998, my daddy died. My uncle worked it for a while longer, but then our neighbors, the Eatons, took over working my family’s land. I owe a lot to my uncle and neighbors who taught me a lot about farming. Not many people would have been so kind as to let a 13-year-old work with them. I worked on the farm until I graduated and joined the Navy. I learned a lot in those four years in the Navy, especially about discipline. As much as I enjoyed the travel and experiences, I couldn’t wait to get back home after that. I’ve always wanted to row crop farm like my daddy and my uncle did, but then the opportunity for this chicken barn came along. I knew it could be a good opportunity to work our way back into farming and eventually, row crops. And eight years later, things are going great.

That’s wonderful. Can you tell us about your chicken farm? What’s it like to raise chickens for eggs?

I’ve got a laying house. The baby chicks come to us within a few hours of being hatched. We get about 13,500 total in a flock. Usually about 1500 roosters and 12,000 hens. They are with us for a total of about 12 to 13 months. The first five months are pretty easy, feeding, watering and keeping the chicks healthy. Then the next seven or so months when they are laying, it is 7-days a week for 10 hours a day. Once they finish laying, then they get picked up. We clean out the barn and get ready for the next flock.

How do you keep up with that? Do you have help?

Scott Mincey and his two young sons.I come from a long line of hard workers. From the time I was big enough to walk, I worked with my family in the fields. My mother’s the hardest worker I know. She works with me in the barn and I honestly couldn’t do this without her. We also have a woman that helps us during laying time so that people can take a day off.

How did you learn about how to raise chickens?

Mostly through the school of hard knocks! I went to a couple of barns in Alabama and Tennessee. I called a lot of people that had been in the business awhile. Learned a lot on my own too. The integrator’s people come in and they have seen many different farms and can give pointers on what they’ve seen that works.

What do you like best about it?

Well, I like handling animals and watching the chickens. Can’t say it doesn’t get old sometimes when the hens are laying and we are working seven days a week, but I love being able to work here at home. I don’t have to drive to an office or be away from my family to work.

You mentioned that you got into this to help get back into row crops. Are you growing any row crops now?

Yes, we started small. The last two years have planted 30 to 40 acres of soybeans. The steady income from the chicken barn helps. The Eatons have been really helpful letting us use their equipment.

What have you learned that surprised you?

Chickens are smarter than you think. Brand new baby chicks know how to drink from the feeders right away. And roosters are sassy! Especially in the morning. They want you to know they rule the roost!

Scott and Skylar Mincey in front of floral topiary.

Is there advice you’d give to someone thinking about following in your footsteps?

Ask a lot of questions. Talk to others who are doing the same thing. Can’t ask enough questions.

Is there something else you’d like to share that we haven’t discussed?

Ben Chandler and the folks at First Financial Bank are the reason we have this farm and this house. Back in 2012, another bank had approved us then backed out. A month later, Ben called and said he saw we’d filed for permits and said if we ever needed anything he’d love to help. I told him what happened and he came over to see me the next day. Shortly after that, we got our loan for the chicken barn. In 2013, we were living in the house here on the farm and it needed a lot of my attention. I was thinking about building a new house and I called him. It wasn’t long before I was talking with the mortgage people and I had my house loan. They are a blessing.

Where would you like to go from here?

I want to be able to leave a farm for my children. If they want to farm like their daddy, I want to give them that chance.

Young family of mother, father and three small children smiling for camera as they sit on a hay bale.

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