Lesson 1: Basic Production

Pigs have a long history of providing food and fat for mankind. Before the advent of grain-based cooking oils, rendered pig fat (lard) was commonly used to add flavor and calories to food.

Commercially, large-scale swine producers raise pigs indoors in very large, climate-controlled buildings. While requiring a significant capital investment, this type of system relies on quantity and maximum efficiency to raise pigs as inexpensively as possible. As small-scale producers, you probably won’t want to invest in state-of-the-art facilities. However, pigs can be managed in lower-tech facilities. Our forebears did it for many years!

Selecting breeding stock or feeder pigs is a very important step. Health is the primary criterion. If pigs are not healthy, they will grow slowly and produce poorly. Pigs originating at a livestock sale facility are exposed to diseases from other pigs at that sale barn, so purchasing pigs directly from another producer is the best way to ensure healthy animals.

Some pigs have distinguishing marks and are easy to identify. In other cases you might want to have some sort of permanent identification. Individual pig identification has become more important in the past few years because of an increased emphasis by USDA to be able to track slaughtered pigs to the farm of origin.

Having the right equipment and tools makes almost any job go more easily. Swine production is no exception. Following is a list of things you’ll need to run a successful swine enterprise, followed by the use for each piece of equipment.

When discussing environmental concerns with animal agriculture, the term “environment” refers not only to water and air quality but also to the area surrounding a farm which could impact people or the lands that receive manure.

Pork producers are held to high standards regarding food safety, animal well-being, environmental protection and worker safety.

Anyone who raises pigs should be aware of, and practice, proven beneficial swine handling methods. These methods utilize pig behavior to the advantage of both the animal and the handler by decreasing stress during movement and lowering risk of injury.