Developing a Successful Farm Business with Pigs
This course is formatted to guide beginning farmers through the production and marketing of pigs raised in pasture settings. Pigs can function as a profitable stand-alone enterprise or can be integrated into your existing farm structure to provide a variety of products and make use of marginal lands that would otherwise go unused. Pigs are also ideal for turning agricultural wastes such as spent grain, whey, or seconds into a valuable product, and with proper management they can improve the land where they are kept.
BEGINNER – Farming has a difficult learning curve because it requires experience in both production and marketing. This course is designed to illustrate the many successes and failures experienced by other pasture pig growers so that students can learn from and adapt their particular systems and resources based on those that have come before. These modules are intended to be beneficial for those who are interested in adding pigs to their farm, those who are expanding their operations, or those who are interested in transferring from a confinement operation to a pasture-based operation.
During the course, you will:
- Learn the basics of raising pigs, including feed, water, shelter, fencing, and basic health care
- Understand how integrating pigs into your operation can generate profit from marginal lands, various on farm wastes, and multi-species grazing
- Develop a marketing plan that will take into account the rules and regulations in New York State (students from other states will need to research parallel laws in their area) regarding the sale of live animals, animal products, and value-added products
- Understand the common perils and pitfalls that affect pastured pig growers
- With the help of the class and the instructor, outline a basic production plan for pigs on your particular property including fencing set up, water set up, and integrating the animals into your existing on-farm enterprises
The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in Teachable, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the online interface of the course to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from presenters and ask questions in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing.
Live instruction for the 2021-2022 season has ended, and the next live session will be in January 2023. While we encourage live attendance so you have the opportunity to engage with the presenters and ask questions, all webinars are recorded and posted in our online classroom for students to watch anytime. Once you have enrolled in this course, you will retain access to all materials indefinitely, and can return to participate in the live webinars in future offerings of the course if you wish.
Jenn Bassman is the marketing and communications liaison for New York State 4-H. She owns a 15 acre farm in Berkshire, NY where she raises Kunekune pigs, Katahdin and Icelandic Sheep and Toggenburg goats, and runs a Farm2Door home delivery service that carries more than 75 locally produced items from area farms. She has an 11 year old daughter who is a 3 rd generation 4-H’er and a competitive dancer.
Jason is social worker turned farmer and owner of Diamond Hills Farm, a
pasture based cow/ calf operation in Hudson, New York. He worked for several years as the Livestock Educator for the
Ulster County Cooperative Extension Office. He gets up early, tries to
stay up late, and likes looking at his collection of unread books. He
enjoys talking farm and has an opinion and possibly advice on most
anything relating to livestock. He is happiest at that time of year when
you can smell the soil but not the cold.
StartWeek 1 WEBINAR RECAP: Slides, Recording, Notes, Q&A from Chat
StartREAD: How to Raise Pigs on Pasture, v1.0 - 3.0 by Forrest Pritchard
StartREAD: 5 Things I Learned the Hard Way While Raising Pigs Magazine Article
StartREAD: 17 Breeds of Pastured Pigs to Raise for Pork
StartWATCH: Things You Need to Get Started with Pigs
StartFORUM: Introduce Yourself and Reflect on the Readings/Video
StartACTIVITY: Pastured Pig Checklist and Sources for Supplies
StartOptional: Join the Outdoor Pig Producers on Facebook