"Unto the Past is born the Future." — An Unknown Anasazi (Ancient One)
The Woape Farm
In 2005, Smotherman Farms began growing turkeys in only 2 barns at the Woape Farm. The Waco plant's success in its realignment from heavy toms to light hens led to several increases in the plant's overall annual production. This increase in production enabled the Woape Farm today to be 100% operational, with all barns being used for production.
After purchasing the leased grow-only facility from Cargill in January of 2016, an extensive renovation project converted the facility into a whole life cycle farm. The grow-only barns were updated and new brooding equipment was added, allowing flocks to be brooded and finished in the same barns — or as we call it, an "All-In, All-Out" turkey farm. In May of 2016, Woape placed its first brooder flock of 64,000 babies, beginning a new era for the farm and the Smothermans.
Naming the Farm
In the month prior to closing on our new farm Dana, Beau and I spent many hours searching for a name for our new turkey farm. Too often, farms have a name that simply reflects the owner's surname. However, this new farm meant a lot to our family, and we knew that we wanted a name that would reflect those feelings.
This land, the United States of America, was cared for and nurtured by the native people of the Americas. In Central Texas, it was the Huaco ("Waco") tribe living in concert with the land in McLennan County. For hundreds of years, they were the protectors of the natural resources we have here. Having lived in the Phoenix area for many years, our family had gained an appreciation and somewhat of an understanding of the unique relationship the Native American cultures had with the land they occupied.
Dana, Beau, and I knew from the beginning that our new farm name should honor those that were here before us. While researching the lexicon of the Caddo-Pawnee, the ancestral origin of the Huaco Indians, we found our new name: Woape. The word jumped from the page as the perfect identifier for the connection that we felt with our new farm, which features 290 acres of rolling hillsides and a creek running between the slopes.
The Woape Farm was one of the last facilities built for the Waco Plant complex. It is located on a tract of land approximately 8 miles from the Sedberry and Sulak farms, and all operations are located in Northern McLennan County Texas.
The farm is located on a 290+/- acre tract of land, with the turkey facilities situated on a 10+/- acre tract on the northern property line. In addition to the farm facility, the other acreage consists of 3 mature improved coastal pastures, two large stock tanks, and a tillage tract of approximately 37 acres -- with the balance covered in mature oak timber.
Smotherman Farms renovated and maintained the pastures for the previous 10 years, baling 300-400 5x6 round hay bales annually. The property has good perimeter fencing, but no interior fencing except for the turkey production area, which is fenced to isolate the facility from the surrounding area.
Turkey Barns and Equipment
The Woape facility consists of 4 (600' x 50') finishing barns having total square footage of 120,000 square feet. The poultry barns are standard curtain-sided poultry barns. Originally equipped for cool-cell ventilation, the barns have been modified to operate as tunnel ventilation houses. After purchasing the farm, the barns were updated with additional equipment and structural renovations to brood and grow turkey flocks in the same barn.