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Triple P Ranch - Heartbeat Magazine

Article & photos by Joann Pipkin.

As the winding Highway B heads south out of Cole Camp in mid-Missouri, Benton county’s occasional cropland and cattle farms give way to rugged hills that surely glisten in the autumn light. Tucked away as if for safe-keeping the area is home to one of the region’s largest poultry operations. But, one wouldn’t know it until venturing off the main thoroughfare.

It is here, amid the wooded countryside of rural Missouri that Troy Peaster’s vision comes to life. Triple P Ranch today is owned by members of the late Troy Peaster’s family and, thanks to his foresight, these California natives have found life abundant in their quest to get back on the farm.

Moving On


It was 1994 and all it took was some friends who planted the seed in Troy Peaster’s mind: Tyson Foods was expected to build a poultry complex in the Sedalia, Mo., area.

“We discussed it briefly,” Troy’s son Jake recalls. “I’ll never forget what dad said, ‘We can talk about it or we can go see.’”

And, see they did. In short order, Jake and father, Troy, caught an airplane out of San Francisco bound for Missouri to explore what new opportunity might await them.

In five short days, the Peasters had met with representatives from Tyson Foods, as well as a realtor, discussed their options and finances.

“It didn’t take the realtor very long to see that us California boys liked the hills and the trees,” Jake Peaster explains with a grin. “That was so new to us. It was like we were camping every day.”

Before heading back to their trucking company and almond orchard in the San Joaquin Valley, Troy Peaster had put money down on the farm that would later become Triple P Ranch.

Although not on the initial scouting journey to Missouri, Troy’s brother Jim was ready for the move, too.

“Uncle Troy knew what he wanted,” Jim’s son Randy credits. “He’d draw something up on the computer and we’d go to work.”

And, go to work they did. By summer of 1995, the trucking business had been sold on auction and the Peasters were east bound.

The initial Peaster operation consisted of 12 broiler houses— four for each of Troy, Jake and Jim.

Armed with an old bulldozer they hauled all the way from California, the men did their own dirt work in the beginning, hoping to earn their living until they could get the poultry barns built.

Jake also worked for a time for a company that was constructing their poultry houses so he could earn a living as well. “We had no income,” Jake recalls. “It wasn’t easy. We bit off quite a bit.”

Phase two of the Peaster operation came to fruition in 1998 when Jim’s son Randy bought into the partnership and eight additional houses were built.



As Tyson was set for expansion, two poultry suppliers moved out of the Sedalia area and in doing so left opportunity for the Peasters to become a dealer for Cumberland poultry equipment. “We became a dealer for our eight houses,” Jake explains. “There were 18 barns total in the area, including our own.”

Jake notes that being a poultry equipment dealer has helped their own operation cut down time and improve efficiency. “If something breaks down, we don’t have to go to town for parts; we just go to our warehouse,” Jake explains.

Today, Triple P Ranch includes 20 broiler houses, a poultry supply company, construction business and litter marketing enterprise all headquartered off the initial 400-acre parcel the Peasters purchased in the mid-1990s. The operation is owned by Carolyn Peaster, the late Troy’s wife; Troy’s son Jake; Troy’s brother, Jim; and Jim’s son Randy. Additionally, Jim’s sons Terry, Kelly and Scott work in the broiler arm of the operation while Jake’s daughter Katie helps in the office.

Looking Ahead


Wisdom beyond words, Troy Peaster’s vision helped pave the way for his family’s future.

Jake credits his father as being a “shop man,” one to fix things even before they were broke. He says that philosophy plays out in all aspects of the operation today, whether raising birds or fixing equipment—tend to the problems before hand.

“Troy actually went through some of the tough times for the operation,” Jim says. “He wasn’t really able to reap some of the benefits the operation sees now. But, he got us going.”

“He didn’t spend money on things that wouldn’t make money for the operation,” Jake explains.

According to Jake, for his dad there was never a job that was done “good enough.” “It was either good or it wasn’t good,” he explains. “You either did the job right or you didn’t, there was no in between.”

With that in mind, Randy says it is that philosophy in raising broilers that makes the difference.

“Pay attention to detail,” Jim echoes.

Troy was instrumental in helping the family convert an old almond picker into a self-propelled cruster that feeds litter from its front. “We haven’t used a pitchfork for clean-out in 10 years,” Jim notes.

FCS Financial’s Danny Young notes, “Troy was ahead of his time. He was the first I can remember to have a computer in his house that could monitor activity in the poultry barns. And at the time, (computer controllers) weren’t approved for the poultry houses.”

Jake says his father also equipped their houses so a tractor could be driven inside between the brooder area and grow-out ends of the barn. That has since advanced from doors between the two ends to now having curtains that separate the two.

“His mind was always working on ‘what can I do to make this more efficient,” Jake says.

Red alarm lights are installed outside each barn so that when there is a problem inside, the light illuminates, indicating the house with the issue. A switch manually resets the lights.

“That was just down dad’s line to think of something like that,” Jake says.

While the lights are still operational today, technology now takes the alarm system one step further.

A complete alarm system indicating any problems within the barns is initially sent out via land-line telephone. However, after a direct lightening strike wiped out the farm’s land-line telephone, a new alarm system was added and now indicates which house the problem is in, what the problem is and where it is located within the barn. All of that information is sent via text message on cell phones. An internet tower installed atop the ranch’s stacking shed allows remote monitoring for all the barns.

Working Together


With so many members of the same family working side by side, day in and day out, the scenario might seem overwhelming. But, not for the Peaster family.

“We’ve learned to agree to disagree and give each other a little room,” Randy says laughingly.

Seriously, the family shares in responsibilities, trials and triumphs.

“What makes our partnership work,” Jake says, “is that I don’t have to worry one bit about who is doing the job and whether or not it’s getting done right. We all think very much alike.”

While Jim and his four sons (Randy, Terry, Kelly and Scott) primarily handle the poultry barns, Jake manages equipment sales, record-keeping and contracting for the construction projects.

Before his dad got sick, Jake says he also worked in the poultry barns and hauled litter. That all changed with Troy’s illness and launched Jake into a crash course on bookwork and accounting.

Jake says once his father passed away in July of 2007, he felt the need to do more in the operation than just the bookwork, so that’s when he started selling fans for the poultry houses.

One of the biggest selling factors for the equipment, Jake says, is that it’s tested. “Everything that we sell, we have used. When we build a barn, folks know we’re here to service their equipment and they know that what we sell we also use in our own houses. They like the experience that comes with the sale.”

Triple P Ranch has evolved its construction company into a reputable business in the area that not only builds poultry barns, but also installs the equipment.

“We have 16 houses still to build this winter,” Jake notes, adding that the business built 22 houses this past summer, 10 in Mississippi and 12 in Missouri.

The litter marketing entity within Triple P Ranch sells product to row crop farmers, primarily northwest of Cole Camp. “There is tremendous demand for it,” Jake says.

Building Relationships


The Peasters are quick to credit FCS Financial for their assistance in all phases of their operation from operating and real estate to equipment and home loans.

“I really appreciated being able to go to FCS, especially during the first couple of years after dad passed away,” Jake notes. “I trusted their advice. I felt like FCS was looking out for the best interest of our business.”

According to FCS Financial’s Danny Young, “I started with FCS in June of 1998 and one of the first poultry loan closings I was a part of was with Kevin Gabbert and the Peasters sitting around Troy and Carolyn’s kitchen table. I have been impressed with the forward thinking of the Peasters from that time on. They were then and still are always thinking of the future and how they can be more efficient in everything they do.”

Giving Credit


Devout Christians, the Peasters are quick to credit the Lord for all their blessings.

While Troy Peaster could have sold his California business and retired with enough equity to live on, that wasn’t his vision.

“His vision was unselfish,” Jake notes, adding that his dad wanted the family to work together.

“The beauty of a partnership is that it’s not just my decision,” Jake maintains. “We bounce ideas off each other. We hopefully make an educated decision about what we should or shouldn’t do.”

And, it would seem Troy Peaster was ahead of his time yet again...

 
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