Farm Crest Foods is Michigan’s only egg farm east of Lansing. Located in Huron County, the facility houses more than 750,000 hens. Scott Maust is the operations manager and third generation to run the business. It’s hard to keep track of all the changes that have happened in the last six decades.
“When I started, we’d use a little light to look at the egg to see if there was a crack on it,” he said. “The technology has gotten to the point where we use sonar to detect a crack in an egg. The other is we used to put a liquid sanitizer on the eggs after they’re washed from getting salmonella or other things inside the egg. Now we actually run it under an ultraviolet light, and that disinfects anything that’s on the outside of the shell moments before it goes in a carton.”
Farm Crest Foods has the best interest in mind for their hens. They are in the process of transitioning all three of their barns to be cage-free.
“We have to be entirely cage-free by January 1, 2025,” said Maust. “They’re free to roam around the barn as they choose.”
Farm Crest is also diversified. The Maust family also operates two separate businesses. The first is Active Feed.
“That feed mill supplies our hens, dairy farms, hog farms and beef cattle farms,” he said. “We purchase our grains locally. Then we grind the corn mix with soy and other nutrients, and we make a custom blend for every customer and deliver to their farm.”
The other business ties into Farm Crest Foods as well. Huron Gas LLC supplies the propane for Farm Crest Foods.
“Because we raise our baby chicks from one day old, we have to heat the barn to 90 degrees, and that burns a lot of propane to keep that barn for four weeks or so until the chickens produce enough heat to keep themselves warm,” said Maust.
Maust and his family take a lot of pride in the quality eggs they produce and ship across the country.
“It is in our best interest to take as good of care as we can with that chicken,” he said. “Our livelihood depends on the chicken’s livelihood. As long as that chicken is healthy, well-nourished, comfortable, in a good environment, she will lay as many eggs as possible. That in turn affects me. We really do care about that chicken from the day it gets to us when it’s one day old until she’s served out her lifetime.”