3rd Generation Egg Farmer
Sunrise Acres Egg Farm, Hudsonville, MI
Joe Patmos and his brother, Doug, are part of the third generation of farmers at Sunrise Acres Egg Farm. They care deeply and work hard to do right by their hens, the environment and their community in Hudsonville, Michigan.
About the Farm
Joe and Doug’s grandparents, Marvin and June Patmos, started with 100 chickens and 30 acres of farmland in 1949. In the 1980s, their father, Bill, and his brother, Dick, took over daily operations. Today, with more than 7,000 acres, Sunrise Acres remains a family business: Joe oversees Sunrise Acres’ egg operations, while Doug focuses on growing their crops and caring for their baby chicks and hens.
The farm is completely integrated — meaning the Patmos family and team manage nearly the entire process, from planting seed in the fields to grow the feed for their flocks, all the way to delivering the eggs to the customer’s door.
Every day the Patmos’ care for more than 2 million hens and a half-million baby chicks (from one day old) and pullets. They farm and care for the Michigan farmland that feeds their hens, producing corn and soybeans specifically and only for their hen and chick farms. They buy additional grains from local West Michigan farmers, helping to keep those farms sustainable. These ingredients are mixed and processed at the farm’s newly rebuilt feed mill, which produces quality feed specially formulated for each of their flocks under family supervision.
The Patmos’ package their own eggs daily and transport them to market with their Sunrise Acres truck fleet. Having their hands on the entire process — from crop in the field to the customer receiving docks — ensures care and high quality standards are maintained at every step.
Q&A with Joe Patmos
Why did you decide to be a farmer?
Growing up, I honestly wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a farmer or not. I was raised in a house that was 50 yards away from a hen house, and I was immersed in the lifestyle as a child. I learned from my parents the huge responsibility that comes with caring for animals. Over time, I realized just how much farming was in my blood. After completing business school, I joined our farm full-time and found a passion for being a part of the next generation at Sunrise Acres. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a farmer and to be a part of the next generation of America’s farmers.
What does farming mean to you personally?
My wife and I both grew up in farm families, so in a lot of ways farming is a lifestyle to us and is a piece of our family and history. Farming also comes with stewardship — caring for hens, the land, the environment, and resources — a personal responsibility not to be taken lightly.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
Seeing how everything comes together. We lay the seed and wait; by God’s grace, the harvest comes up in season. We work hard to feed our hens right and care for them to the best of our ability, and they lay a nutritional powerhouse of a food! Also, it is rewarding to be able to provide this incredible food to others inexpensively and to be able to build great relationships with others involved in the food industry.
What would you like people to know about egg farming that they may not?
Caring for animals is a 24/7 job. For the farmer, there is no turning it off. There is so much hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and care from a lot of people that goes into producing an affordable, high-quality protein source for families to pick up at the grocery store.