The Organic Hog Facility
The Organic Hog Facility opened in 2015 as a scalable model for farmers who want to begin similar pastured pork projects. In this innovative facility, we demonstrate how to increase hog production quantity while reducing labor and still maintaining a high quality of life for the animal.
This model is designed so that farmers can scale the facility larger or smaller, depending on their needs. In our facility (pictured left), we raise about 100 hogs per year, but larger structures can easily raise 300 hogs per year.
Inside the hoop house structure are eleven deeply bedded stalls. Each is equipped with a feeder controlled by an overhead auger and two frost-proof waterers. These devices reduce the labor it takes to haul food and water back and forth to the animals, thus reducing labor costs. The stalls make separating the animals more convenient so that caretakers can easily treat and work with individual animals.
When severe weather arrives, all doors can be closed while the side curtains continue to allow air flow and protection from harsh elements. Unlike many hog operations, our open facility allows hogs to defecate outside, eliminating inside smell.
The Great Outdoors
Our hogs have 24/7 access to the large outdoor pastures through openings on the sides of each stall. Outside are eight acres of land, half of which is marginal, that is planted with crops like peas, oats, and grasses so hogs can forage for a diverse diet. Planting seed reduces the amount of grain we feed the hogs, so feed cost is kept low.
Hogs are rotated often around the pasture with the help of swinging gates. During rotation periods, the gates close off one area while directing the hogs to enter and exit through new door openings. This leads the hogs to new land where fresh crops can be foraged.
All of our hogs are heritage breeds, or traditional livestock breeds whose descent can be tracked to their forefathers. These historic breeds were once raised on farms and have, over time, developed qualities very different from hogs found in modern industrial agriculture. Traits include a unique ability to thrive on pasture, forage, resist certain diseases and parasites, and mate naturally. Unfortunately, these important breeds are now in decline.
You may find the following heritage breeds in our Organic Hog Facility. All currently hold a “threatened” population status according to The Livestock Conservancy:
• Gloucestershire Old Spot
• Red Waddle
• Large Black
• Large Black and Tamworth cross
Special thanks to our Organic Hog Facility sponsors: