The purpose of the event was to give community members an opportunity to talk with the owners of the company, ask questions and get facts about the incoming chicken farm on the old Babbitt land next to the Hawthorne Army Depot.
But the biggest news on this day was the announcement of hundreds of new residents in Mineral County. After months of hope and speculation, around 800 baby chickens finally arrived at their new home on Thursday.
“Like any business we expected to get started sooner, but things happen,” said Izzy Razack, one of the three owners of GEN. “Getting the chickens here is a step forward in the right direction, and we are excited about that.”
The new home of the baby chicks is a temporary solution for the time being. GEN is leasing three acres of private land near the Hawthorne dump for a penny an acre while they work to close on the over 130 acres of land in the old town of Babbitt next the Hawthorne Army Depot.
Razack told gatherers that there were certain rules and laws that they had to follow, but hopes to close the deal on the Babbitt land sometime this week.
“We want to get this done as soon as possible,” he said. “We’ve invested the money and are committed to this.”
Razack fielded questions from the crowd, including those that graduated from the chicken school in May that are waiting to start working. He explained that they still don’t have an exact starting date for the workers but wanted to ensure to them that they haven’t abandoned the project.
As for the chickens, they are getting acclimated to their new homes in coops built by chicken school graduates, and are getting round the clock care by volunteers for the time being. The original plan was to start with 20,000, but 800 was all they could get right now.
They brought in four different types of chickens to see which ones do the best in the 4,000 plus foot elevation of the high desert, and if they can adapt to the weather conditions. The females will produce the eggs, and the males will become “fryers.”
Mineral County Economic Development Authority director Shelley Hartmann, who was instrumental in bringing GEN to the community, was on site when the chickens arrived on Thursday. She said that she’s already received 300 plus applications from all over the state from people that want to be a part of this from the beginning.
“What they’re (GEN) doing is different from anyone I’ve ever worked with,” Hartmann said. “This is the perfect business for a town that needs jobs. I’m excited for the community.”
Razack echoed her statements and is excited to be moving forward in the process.
“We are committed to putting the town of Hawthorne and Mineral County to work,” he said. “As long as people are willing to work, we are willing to invest.”