Ryan Sullivan enlisted in the Air Force in 1996 and served four years before going on to work for Lockheed Martin as an avionics specialist. Four years after separating from active duty, Ryan re-enlisted in the South Dakota Air National Guard and continues to serve with that unit today. During his military career, Ryan has deployed four times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

In April of 2014, Ryan began Sullivan Family Farms in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The five-acre farm is a diversified operation raising meat rabbits, laying hens, pastured poultry, mixed vegetables and berries. The produce is sold directly to consumers through a farm stand and a small CSA.

RyThe Sullivan Familyan was among the first recipients of Farmer Veteran Coalition’s 2015 Fellowship awards. With his Fellowship, Ryan purchased a Featherman Gamebird set-up, including a plucker, chill tank, and roto-dunker. Ryan says, “No other single equipment purchase would have a more positive, immediate and lasting effect on our farm.” His Fellowship was made possible by the generous donation of Prairie Grove Farms.

The ability to process birds on his farm ensures that Ryan’s flock is cared for in a compassionate, efficient, and sanitary way. On-farm processing bolsters the autonomy of small-scale agriculture by eliminating unnecessary transporting of birds to off-farm facilities, thus keeping production costs down. Ryan’s vision for his poultry operation is to “honor and appreciate the life force of every living thing on our farm, harvesting crops and livestock with gratitude.” Each of the 75 meat birds complete their life cycle under the care of the person who hand-raised them, on the very land they grazed.

In the near future, Sullivan Family Farms will be tripling the flock of broilers and expanding the meat rabbit population. Ryan is building a hoop house to extend the growing season and cultivating additional acreage. Follow the success of Ryan’s farm by visiting Sullivan Family Farms on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SullivanFamilyFarm2006