pigs • corn • soybeans • hay
Two farm storiesAs with many farmers, you are either born into it or you marry into it. You could say I was very fortunate to have done both! Growing up on a farm in Arcola, in east central Illinois, my roots run deep in agriculture and the pig penwhere my parents still farm. But today, I farm with my wife's family in rural Elkhart.
A multigenerational farm years in the making
Over the last 53 years, the farm has grown to support multiple families and is cultivating the seventh generation to join our deep heritage.
Today, we raise corn, soybeans and hay on 1,700 acres while also growing 12,000 pigs annually as part of our 750-sow (momma pig) farrow-to-finish (birth-to-market) farm. I spend most of my time managing Tri Pork, Inc.'s pork production business, with most of my focus on the sow center.
In true diversified fashion, we also raise 45 cows, 20 goats and 12 chickens. My wife and I would say, however, the most important things we're raising on the farm are our own children.
Building character in the show barn
My roots are deeply planted in 4-H and FFA, so I devote 75 sows to raising show/fair pigs for sale and exhibition. I want my own daughters, nieces and nephews to learn the joys of showing livestock, but I also take a lot of pride in assisting in the development of many core character-building values of today's youth.
About my familyWe farm in Elkhart, Illinois, with Breann's family. We grow corn, soybeans and hay while also raising 12,000 pigs annually. In addition, Thomas devotes 75 sows to raising show/fair pigs for sale and exhibition. We have two daughters: Reagan and Lakin.
My Blog Posts
|Providing Safe Food for Your Family and Mine|
|Why buy pork from across the pond, Chipotle?|
"Behind that national brand are individual family farmers like me."
PROVIDING SAFE FOOD FOR YOUR FAMILY AND MINE
If you pick up a package of Farmland bacon at the grocery store, there’s a chance it could be pork from the pigs raised on my farm. And behind that national
brand are individual farmers like me who are committed to animal care.
Here are a few things I do on my farm to make sure you get a great slice of bacon:
- Specialized diet. A piglet weighing 8-10 pounds needs a completely different diet than a pig weighing 250 pounds.
- Adding beneficial ingredients to their feed. Chili powder helps keep pigs cool, and essential oils and oregano can improve immunity
and overall health. Finding alternative ways to keep pigs healthy allows us to preserve and sustain the effectiveness of antibiotics.
- Keeping them cozy. Pigs prefer a temperature of about 70 degrees. When pigs are comfortable, they don’t spend their energy trying
to regulate their body temperature, but instead are growing healthy and strong.
- Keeping them safe. Enclosed buildings help keep disease, parasites and predators from getting into barns and exposing our pigs to
illness or danger.