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 2022 has concluded. 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 your 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. Our next live session will be offered in Fall 2023. Please join us!
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 primarily on pasture. She has a 12-year-old daughter who is a 3rd generation 4-H’er and a competitive dancer.
StartWeek 1 WEBINAR: Slides & Recording
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