Monday, April 25, 2011
The Last Ones....
I got a chance to go home this weekend to the Bertelsen Farm for Easter. It was a little bittersweet when I had to open all 3 doors to the farrowing rooms before I finally found the one that still had pigs in it. The Bertelsen's are getting out of the pig business. My Mom & Dad have worked a long time to build their farm, and they have earned some much-needed and much-deserved R&R. Therefore, they chose to voluntarily exit the business. This is pretty sad for me, as I spend my days surrounded by pigs, and the reason I have become such a "pig person" is because of what I learned while growing up in the hog barns, especially with my Mom. The last sow farrowed this week, and so once all these little pigs grow up and go to market (about 5-6 months from now), there will be no more pigs on the farm at all.
These are some of the last pigs to be born at the Bertelsen Farm
One of the main reasons why the pigs are leaving is because we have had a particularly difficult time finding someone to replace our long-time, full-time employee who was injured in a motorcycle accident last summer. This is why farmers tend to specialize, and "Go Big, or Go Home!". Working on farms isn't easy work, and at times, it is not especially enjoyable. (I personally think that the good times outnumber the bad, but that is just me!) It is much easier to find someone to work on the farm who can specialize in one area, such as crop production, machinery, or livestock production. Therefore, farms many times need to jump from 50 sows or cows (or a size when most work can be done with family labor) to 500 sows or cows (or a size when the farm can hire 4-5 workers that can specialize in the different areas around the farm).
The Bertelsen's are not nearly done farming though....there are still nearly 1000 acres of corn and beans to fertilize, plant, spray & harvest, as well as several years worth of projects that have been put off because we have been too busy taking care of all of those pigs for all of those years.