HARRISONBURG, Va. — Farmer Focus, the only 100% USDA organic and Humane Certified® chicken company with a mission to promote and protect generational family farms, is finishing 2022 strong with the expansion of its product line chainwide into Publix and a new partnership with Safeway in the Mid-Atlantic region. With the addition of 750 new stores in Q4 2022, Farmer Focus will now be available in over 3,100 stores throughout the East Coast and Midwest, including other major retailers like Kroger and Harris Teeter. To support and expand on this growth, Farmer Focus has promoted Stephen J. Shepard to President and Chief Operating Officer. Additionally, Kathryn Tuttle has been promoted to Chief Commercial Officer.
Farmer Focus is leading the organic category by fueling demand from consumers seeking more than just organic certification. With +52% growth versus a year ago, the company is significantly outpacing the organic category as a whole — which grew 10% in the latest 52 weeks* — by mirroring consumer trends, including animal and farmer welfare and the company’s commitment to sustainability, which bring new consumers into the organic category.
“The promotion of Stephen and Kathryn furthers our mission to promote and protect generational farming while prioritizing animal welfare and growing the organic category as a whole,” said Corwin Heatwole, Founding Farmer and Chief Executive Officer of Farmer Focus. “We are excited to continue developing our team, and leveraging their experience to grow our business and network of family farmers.”
Prior to his promotion to President and COO, Shepard served as Executive Vice President of Operations for Farmer Focus since April 2022. He brings over 16 years of experience in poultry plant and farm operations and is passionate about Farmer Focus’ emphasis on employee safety and well-being. In his new role, Shepard will focus on increasing production capacity while reducing the company’s greenhouse gas footprint and championing environmental sustainability to meet the needs of discerning customers.
“I am excited to lead our team as we service new and existing customers with the additional capacity from our 2022 plant expansion,” said Shepard. “Our continued growth is creating a positive impact for our retailer partners, our independent family farmers and our planet. For that, I am incredibly proud.”
Kathryn Tuttle, who joined Farmer Focus as Chief Marketing Officer in 2020, brings over 20 years of marketing and commercial strategy experience to her new role as Chief Commercial Officer. In her expanded role, she will oversee sales, marketing and new product innovation.
“Addressing the changing needs of consumers is more critical than ever to help our retail partners win. Our team is stronger than ever and poised to increase value for both our consumers and retail customers,” said Tuttle. “Our teams understand what value means to the modern poultry consumer and are attracting loyal consumers to the organic category.”
This news is just the most recent indication of Farmer Focus’ growth, category leadership and commitment to building a successful, mission-driven organic brand. Additional milestones in 2022 include:
- Farmer Focus is the #1 fastest-growing organic chicken brand in grocery stores over the 52-week period ending November 20, 2022* and the #2 organic chicken brand.*
- Farmer Focus expanded its family of farmers by 20% in 2022. Farmer Focus currently has 78 family farmers, with over 130 more on the waiting list.
- The company was recognized by the White House in January 2022, when CEO Corwin Heatwole was invited to join President Biden at a roundtable to discuss competition in the meat industry. During this conversation, he advocated for independent farmers and explained how Farmer Focus is creating a new and equitable business model for the poultry industry.
- Farmer Focus received multiple industry and innovation awards in 2022, including:
- Fast Company World-Changing Ideas, which focuses on social good, seeking to elevate finished products and brave concepts that make the world better.
- Three Progressive Grocer awards: The 2022 Next Gen Award, which recognized Corwin Heatwole as an industry leader of tomorrow; the 2022 Top Women in Grocery Award, which recognized Kathryn Tuttle’s leadership; and the 2022 Editor’s Pick Awards, which recognized the Farmer Focus pre-seasoned chicken product line.
*All data references organic chicken brands in grocery stores ending 11.20.2022 as indicated by IRI data.
About Farmer Focus
Founded by sixth-generation farmer Corwin Heatwole in 2014, Farmer Focus is the only 100% USDA organic and Humane Certified® chicken company with a mission to promote and protect generational family farms. By shifting farm-level decision-making and chicken ownership back to farmers and empowering them to farm the way they know is best, Farmer Focus significantly improves the financial viability of the farm and farmer profit. Available in 3,100 stores throughout the East Coast and Midwest, including major retailers like Publix, Kroger, Harris Teeter, Safeway and more. Farmer Focus is committed to consistently producing exceedingly delicious, 100% USDA organic and humanely raised chicken that is better for people, the planet and animals.