Pig Planning

This weekend White Flint Farm will hold it’s annual executive retreat to review the results of 2013 and plan for 2014.  Put differently, Cherie and I will spend a day at the kitchen table figuring out where we go from here.

I’m a little nervous about it.  We have to be honest about what makes sense and what doesn’t. As a friend of mine put it, if we operate at a loss then we’re essentially paying people to eat our food. If the reality is that we’ll always operate at a loss, then what we’re doing isn’t sustainable.

I expect the results of our review will be positive.  But I know it’s likely that we’ll end up making some changes.  We’ll see.

Whatever other changes we end up making, I’m confident that we’ll keep raising pigs.  I love having them on the farm and they don’t require a lot of effort.  I feed them twice a day, keep their water fresh and make sure they have a wallow and a dry place to sleep.  If only everything on the farm was as easy to raise as they are.

We set the price of our sausage at $6.50/pound and are having no problem selling it.  Several folks have told us it’s the best they’ve ever had.  It’s encouraging that people are willing to pay a little extra more for quality.

Assuming the numbers work out as I expect them to, I’m planning to raise four next year–two for whole hog sausage and two for the other cuts.  I may try to plant some turnips in the pasture.  I’m still considering fencing in some of the woods around the pasture so they can finish on acorns, even though that would have been pointless this year since we ended up having no acorns.

I’m still hesitant to get a boar and start breeding and farrowing.  I like bringing in weaned piglets, raising them to slaughter weight, then taking a break.  That also allows me to open up their pasture for the goats in the winter.  We’ll think about that possibility for 2015.

Whatever else 2014 may have in store for us, I’m sure it will include pigs.