Brothers Raise Free Range Eggs on Large Scale

Family farm becomes a home business for large-scale free range eggs.

| January/February 2014

  • Farm-fresh eggs are the Stanton Brothers specialty.
    Photo By Fotolia/mimadeo
  • On a wet morning, the chickens forage for themselves in the barnyard of the Stanton family farm.
    Photo By Jack Wax
  • The Stanton brothers pose among their many charges, Dustin on the left and Austin on the right.
    Photo By Jack Wax
  • The Columbia, Missouri, Farmers’ Market is just one stop for Stanton Brothers Eggs.
    Photo By Jack Wax
  • Among the chores at the Stanton farm is washing freshly gathered eggs.
    Photo By Jack Wax
  • Customers prize the freshest eggs around.
    Photo By Jack Wax
  • A group of hens roost for the evening, with nesting boxes in the background. Rhode Island Reds make up part of the flock.
    Photo By Jack Wax

For the past couple years, I’ve made a point of buying a dozen or so eggs from two young farmers who are regulars at the Columbia, Missouri, Farmers’ Market. They look so much alike that I figured they must be brothers, and I used to think they might even be high schoolers, earning a little extra money on their parents’ farm. I was right about their ages — one of them is still in high school. But I was completely wrong about the “little extra money” idea.

It turns out that the young farmers are the owners of Stanton Brothers Eggs, which according to the USDA, makes them one of the largest independent free-range egg producers in the United States. This year, the brothers raised 12,000 chickens that laid upward of 1 million eggs. On good days, the Stantons’ mother, Judy, delivers 600-dozen eggs to local grocery stores, college dining halls and restaurants.

The family farm near Centralia, Missouri, is where their story takes place.

Meet the family

The two brothers — Austin, age 17, and Dustin, age 21 — have accomplished more than most people twice, or even three times, their age. They’ve built a home business by doing what they enjoy, with integrity.

Their business model is based on a sincere concern for the animals under their care and the thousands of people who eat their eggs. It’s also based on sound economic principles.

“We don’t create a supply (of eggs) and then try to find a demand,” Dustin says. “We find the demand and then build the supply. It all depends on who needs eggs and the client’s size.”

2/13/2014 9:10:52 PM

You don't babysit your own kids. Otherwise, good story.

1/6/2014 6:50:02 PM

I was just curious, is it like Easter everyday? Seeking where they have lain the eggs. In other words, how do you collect the eggs? Do the hens have a central place where they lay, or is it will nilly?



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