Breeding and Feeding Facility for Show Pig Production
Grant Award: $6,000
Michael is expanding his pork and show pig operation by constructing a facility to house sows year-round. Both pork and show pig markets are promising, as customer demand for his pork is rising, and show pigs can be sold at a premium, even in years when pork prices are down.
Michael is building a barn large enough to move sows and pigs through a cycle of production stages. It’s important to have a barn with concrete floors because sow litter numbers and pig production increase when pigs are raised on concrete, Michael said. Concrete pens are easier to disinfect between litters, so animal health improves with better sanitation.
The building is also a place for customers to view show pigs for purchase. “I feel it is important in this type of operation to have customers well-informed on how the product is being produced, and that they know and can trust their farmer,” Michael said.
He primarily markets to local 4-H and FFA members. Some FFA chapters purchase sow pigs for class projects. If needed, he can also market online at sites such as www.showpig.com. No other operation in the county is producing show pigs.
Michael grew up on a farm and was nine years old when he bought his first cow and was responsible for his first crop of burley tobacco. He now farms land that he recently purchased on his wife’s family’s land. This project helps “secure a sustainable enterprise that my sons and future generations can rely on to continue to farm our land,” Michael said.