First Week As A Pig Farmer

So about a year or so ago my dad wanted to build a modern hog barn or a modern pig barn. You know the huge buildings that cost an insane amount to build and can hold lots of pigs. We started to have family discussions about pig farming and we all had no idea what we were getting into.

I was living in Dayton, Ohio and I was asked to manage the day to day at the farm. This would require me to move back home to the farm and leave my job in Dayton. After prayer and lots of conversations with my wife we decided to move back home.

farmer-boy-ag-construction

In no time at all we had the building built and hogs coming through the door.

pig-barn-wean-to-finish-mat-pigs

It has now been 1 week since we opened the doors and here is what I have learnt so far.

  1. Baby pigs love it warm, and you have to work with it warm in the building. I love warm weather so I enjoy the 81-83 degree heat, but I sweat like a pig!
  2. Love each pig the same. I have small pigs and medium sized pigs. Then I have the pigs that are a pretty good size. Some weak pigs need more attention, but I want them all to survive and I want all them to have a chance to grow into healthy, hogs for the owner.
  3. It is hard work. At the end of the day, you feel you have done something. When ever pig is fed and watered and their tummies are full they will pile in the center of the pen and fall asleep. It’s a good feeling to know your pigs are happy and you did your job.
  4. Be Flexible. Right before writing this point the propane company called and told me they needed to shut the propane off for a few minutes. Well that meant I had to re-light each brooder heater which took me an hour to light and set everything back to normal. Just be available, the pigs need you just as much as you need them.
  5. Work with family. So far my sisters, brother, father, mother, and even my pregnant wife and kids have been out helping. It’s fun to work together and the barn is part of our family now. Yeah, there have been the arguments but we are all learning how to do this together.hog-farm-sunset
  6. The sunrise & sunset is always amazing in the country. 
  7. Have other things to do. So far I have been really busy. But not too busy since I have had help from family. I keep a timesheet of what I do during the day because I run a business out of my home while I am doing the pig farm. It was really funny because I have 2 hours on the farm in the morning then 1 hour working on a new secret project for GE Capital. Then back to the farm, and back to GE. Comparing the two jobs you would think … “Man of course I would love to work on that type of high-end project!” Well I Really Really Do! But there is still something about taking care of these pigs that brings another type of joy to my heart.

Thousands of people will be fed because of these pigs. The meat will be around millions of conversations at family meals. I am not the one who puts the food on the table. I am the one who raised the pigs healthy, happy, and with a full heart. I am a hog farmer.

7 thoughts on “First Week As A Pig Farmer”

  1. Derrick Mills January 18, 2016

    This is not reply but more of an inquire. I am 19 yrs old and i worked on a 5,000 head hog farm from 8th grade till i graduated. I am thinking about building a hog barn to contract feed hogs. My boss i worked for told me to go big but i dont want to be huge i was thinking of 500-1000 Head barn because in Indiana the bigger you are the more the state breathes down your neck. i am not a farmer my family use to do some before i was around and since then land has been split and sold from the family. So my idea is as above to build a barn and be paid to raise a companies pigs. i cant find a cost of how much it costs to build a barn that size. would you know the ball park and do u think what i want to do is possible? Please get back with me i have been trying to find answers.

    • Casey Spitnale January 19, 2016

      Derrik, cost on a 2400 is around 500,000. What I would do is try and meet with a company who needs growers and barns put up. They will be the best to get all information from. They might have barn specs you can jump on and then get a better idea on how to scale to the size of barn you need. Being young you may not have the cash, but if you get in front of the right people with the right interests they may work out a deal with you. Hope this helps.

  2. Zach May 18, 2016

    Casey, I was wondering if you could give some more insight on your hog operation. I am a young very motivated individual who wants to get into farming and I feel as if hogs are my way in. I would like to know without getting too personal who you and your family contract with. Is your farm located in Ohio? I would like to know these things as I am about 2 hours North of Dayton and am wondering if who you guys contract with are close to myself. Also I would appreciate any helpful tips or advise you would have to offer a person looking to get into the business.

    • admin May 18, 2016

      Zach,
      We contract with Cooper Farms. Yes. Ohio. I live in Cloverdale, Ohio. We are probably close to each other if you want to meet up and ask more questions. spitnale@gmail.com is my email if you are interested. For the most part getting a contract and land is the 2 biggest things.

  3. Bob August 23, 2016

    I’m looking at building a 20k sf hog barn. The closest house will be 400 feet from the edge of the barn to the edge of the house, will that be any problem? There is a stream about 30 feet from the other corner of the barn too, will that be fine? Thank you.

  4. Jed Lupowi September 16, 2016

    Casey,
    Your article got my daughter & son’s attention. They sent it to me. We’ve handled farrow to finish for over 30 years. My biggest contract is with Smithfield Foods but kids are about to sign with Cargill Meat Solutions. She read your article seeking to start on her own with my son from scratch a few years ago. They did this in a full farm 21 miles from mine quite well. They both started with what I taught them for years, matters on any startup. A supportive called Spray-Lining Coatings with this post should aid any startups, maybe some experienced hog folks too. After building(s) are ready, a strong, sealed, water-tight, sanitary flooring & pit / pump system, I learned is essential to lower maintenance, lower decease transmission potential & aid healthy growth.

    Aside from all other jobs they’ve performed, this was such great research, I’m compelled to comment, adding to your startup info. on over 40,000 sq ft of concrete I’ve always used polyaspartic sealer over cement. This flooring which they located called SLC114AS by Spray-Lining & Coatings connects, actually molds or bonds into all stalls, ramps, around slats over manure pits, all connected, seamless! This is a Polyurea Spray-on Lining (type) Coating. I knew of this through stuff called Line-X which is a polyurea bedliner spray-on lining in my (4) truck beds but price to do all flooring, pits, etc? Over $12/ sq ft!

    Most important is this vendor, spray-Lining Coatings lent them the equipment to apply it in their build cycle. Tech support walked ’em through details, etc. This was 2 years ago. these kid’s statistics for growth health, costs & prices topped mine for a few reasons parallel to your advise. Here I’m advising this supplier or any high-quality polyurea since it’s a solution to very relevant, yet unknown or overlooked issues to success. I stuck that website, http://www.spray-lining.com in below.

  5. cletus ogbidi September 15, 2017

    I will like to have a copy of your work

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