Ep 97. Marissa Paykos on Compassionate Animal Farming

Can you run an animal-based farm and simultaneously be passionate about animal welfare?


Our guest today proves that those two things aren’t a direct conflict of interests. Marissa Paykos of Hardeeville, South Carolina joins us today to tell us all about her farming operation, Whippoorwill Farms. Whippoorwill is a small farm with plans on making a BIG impact! It’s a 40 acre raw plot of land turned into a family farm offering premium fresh butchered chicken, rabbit, and pork as well as fresh eggs and seasonal veggies. Marissa and her husband, James, take great pride in providing a humane environment for the animals on their farm. They are given the opportunity to live their best life and the living conditions there are far above the standard of what most animals experience. Tune in to find out how she built her farm and how she maintains her humane animal farm operation!

In This Episode:

An overview of Whippoorwill Farms 1:01

How Marissa found a processor for the rabbit side of the farm 2:36

The layout of Whippoorwill Farms 3:42

About Marissa’s professional background prior to farming and what the transition was like 7:41

How Marissa handled the financial aspect of the farm’s growth 11:18

How Whippoorwill incorporates biochar into their operation 14:26

How Whippoorwill prioritizes important tasks 19:09

What is the hardest part of running the farm is for Marissa 21:40

Who Marissa’s mentors were throughout her farming journey 24:41

How Marissa approaches farm tours 34:17

What Marissa would change in the early stages of her farm 36:22

Who Johnny is and what his role is on the farm 38:25

How Marissa divides roles on the farm 42:49

Where Whippoorwill Farms focuses their marketing efforts 50:11

About farm stays at Whippoorwill 56:19

The story behind their pay-what-you-can produce stand 1.07:01

The biggest mistakes Marissa sees newer farmers making 1.17:12

What kinds of goats are being bred on the farm 1.20:18

Marissa’s favorite farm tool 1.21:35Where you can find out more about Marissa and Whippoorwill Farms 1.23:46

About the Guest

Marissa Paykos is a first generation farmer in the lowcountry of South Carolina who focuses on land management and regeneration through the use of heritage breed livestock and permaculture on her 40 acre biodiverse farm.  With a focus on her community and the environment, Marissa has been changing the game and inspiring many since her start.

Marissa farms full time, with her 5 year old sidekick daughter Ellie, who has been by her side or on her back since the farm’s inception just 5 short years ago. Marissa also freelances as a website developer and social media manager, as well as helps manage a local weekly farmers market. Marissa’s husband works an off-farm conventional job and has let Marissa take the reins and fully grow her dreams as he cheers from the side.

Inspired by the desire to provide a better life for her soon to be born baby, husband, and herself, Marissa and her husband purchased their first piece of raw land of just 2 acres in 2015 that they farmed sustainably. After 2 years of working to build up infrastructure and homestead for themselves they moved to publicly selling in Fall of 2018. After 1 year of selling publicly, in late 2019, they took a leap to grow the business and purchased their new piece of fully overgrown, forests to regenerate.

Resources and mentions

Website – www.whippoorwillfarmssc.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/wwfsc

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/whippoorwillfarmssc

And if you want to keep the conversation going, join us in our Facebook Group to connect with us and other farmers looking to grow their business!

We also have six free eguides to help you be more effective on your farm (Winter Growing, Pastured Poultry, Washing Shed Efficiency, Profitable Farmers Toolkit, what to look for in a farm property, etc), which you can download here.