Lindsay Greiner, a grain and livestock farmer from Keota, IA took some time out of his busy harvest day to tell me what it’s like to be a hog farmer. I know very little about farming and it turns out several of my colleagues didn’t know much either. We came up with these simple and amusing questions that Lindsay chuckled and gratefully answered. We hope this gives you a little insight into a farmers life and how appreciative we should be for these dedicated farmers!
You can also meet Lindsay in person this Saturday (9/29/12) at the Iowa Machine Shed in Des Moines where he will be at the featured guest throughout dinner. Click here for more info
How long have you been a Grain and Livestock Farmer?
How many hogs/pigs do you have at one time?
Varies anywhere from 5,000 to 8,000 hogs. (sidenote: Farmers call them “hogs”, non-farmers, like myself, call them “pigs”).
Where do they live?
In confinement sheds. Each shed is 400 feet long and 52 feet wide. 30 pigs per pen, 2500 full grown hogs in a shed.
Do you order pigs or do you breed them yourself?
We contract a grower, the owners bring the hogs when they are 10lbs, 10 days old. Within 160 days, a good healthy weight is 280 lbs.
Are baby pigs really that cute?
What do you feed them?
Primarily ground corn and soy bean meal.
Do pigs have a favorite snack or treat?
The show pigs like marshmallows and a liquid oil that tastes like chococlate chip cookies, and Ensure protein drinks! Show pigs are cared for and treated like our own kids. Lindsey’s son is in charge of show pigs, he’ll raise and take care of them and sell about 150 show pigs to students and kids.
Are they scared of anything or any animal?
Hogs are scared of about everything – they will run away at anything. However, mothers with babies aren’t sacred of anything and will bite you!
Is it smelly? Do you get used to the smell?
Yes it is smelly and you get used to it.
How much do you get for a full grown pig?
A full grown hogs is worth $150. Just this week, we sold hogs for $0.56 cents a pound at 260lbs that would be $145.60 each.
Is there a down time or seasonality to hog farming? Do you get the winters off?
No down time on the farm. When the hogs go to market, we are down for one week. We powerwash the sheds and get them spotless and then fill it up! Harvest time is the hardest, for 6 weeks you need to harvest and take care of livestock. That’s when farmers work the hardest and longest days.
What questions would you like to ask a farmer? I’m planning on interviewing another farmer this month!