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Baby Pigs and Their Moms April 13, 2012

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Today we are visiting the farrowing house.  This is a farming term for the barn where baby pigs are born and taken care of by their moms and farmers.  Similar to the maternity suite at the hospital.

Baby pigs are approximately three pounds at birth.  A sow (mother pig) typically births 12-14 babies in a litter.  The babies will be up and moving almost immediately.  Their first instinct is to find their mother’s milk.  Her first milk is called colostrum; it contains maternal antibodies and is especially high in nutrients.  Colostrum is important to helping the baby pigs start out healthy.

The babies and their mom’s will stay in this barn for approximately 21 days.  They will grow to 12-15 pounds in that short time.  All the features of the barn are set up to keep them warm, provide a constant feed and water source, and a clean environment.

First Look at the Pigs April 2, 2012

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We’ve showered in.  Now we’re in the barn.  Check out the pigs. 

The barn temperture is adjusted to meet the needs of the pigs, always keeping them in their comfort zone. The barn is well insulated with a  state-of-the-art ventilation system to constantly circulate fresh air to for the pigs.  Just like your house, Scott ensures the barn is clean and well maintained.

The pigs in this barn are approximately three weeks old.  They weigh about twelve to fifteen pounds.  The pigs have a constant source of food and water at all times.  It is important to keep the water fresh and cool for drinking.  The food is a well-balanced complete ration containing  the correct protein, energy, vitamins and minerals that the pigs need.  Pigs generally do not eat grass or hay like a cow.

No Germs Allowed March 26, 2012

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Gone are the days when you walk right into the barn. Today, farmers have many systems in place to ensure that germs are not carried into the barns.  What carries them in?  Most often someone’s exposed skin, shoes and clothes.

Anytime Scott (our pig farmer) or anyone he has invited to the barn, approaches the door they are greeted with a sign explaining the area is bio-secure.  This means the farm takes steps to eliminate outside germs from entering the pig barn.  This ensures the pigs stay healthy and safe!

Inside the front door, we don’t see pigs but a shower.  Yes, the only way in is through the shower.  For Scott, the health of his pigs is serious business. Don’t expect to get in without washing your hair and body, leaving your street clothes on the outside, and dressing in clean clothes on the other side of the shower. 

By the way, most do the same thing on the way out.  As a pig farmer says, “Shower in, shower out!”  This helps keep other farmers’ pigs safe and helps keep Tracie happy when he arrives home to see the family.  Wonder how many showers a day Scott usually takes?

Welcome to our Pig Farm March 20, 2012

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We’re kicking off the Beans to Bacon Follow Farming.  We hope to show you around the operation of a pig farm.

Welcome to Scott and Tracie Isler’s farm.  They grow market hogs.  The words hogs, pigs and swine are three common words for the same thing.  Isler’s raise pigs from birth to market.

It’s their passion. Scott works fulltime on the farm with his brother and other family members.  Tracy also helps on the farm and teaches school.  They love farming and hope this Follow Farming project will show you more about pigs.

Wet Weather Planting Decisions May 31, 2011

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With this spring’s especially wet weather, farmers may be adjusting their planting decisions.  At our Follow Farming field we recently made the decision that instead of five acres of corn and five acres of soybeans, we are going to plant all soybeans.  Farmers are beginning to adjust because corn would typically get planted between April 15 and May 31 in our local area.

Crop insurance is a way that farmers manage risks.  Allen Douce of the Thomas Milligan Agency explains what crop insurance is and how farmers may utilize its many options.  This year has certainly required farmers to make and continually adjust their planting decisions.

Meet a Farmer – Ben McKinniss May 2, 2011

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This young farmer shares that his family’s farm raises Angus cattle, corn, soybeans, and wheat.  Like other farmers, Ben tells us he is not afraid of a hard day’s work.

Many Roles of a Farmer April 24, 2011

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Even when we do not see farmers in the field, they are busy with many tasks to make their farms run smooth. While the fields are wet, farmers are busy hauling grain, preparing and maintaining equipment, and readying seed for the planting season that is right around the corner.

Meet a Farmer – Mike Ralph April 10, 2011

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Local farmer, Mike Ralph talks about the three generations that are actively involved in planting, harvesting, all other other activities on their family farm.

Seed Selection April 6, 2011

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Determining the seed variety for our corn and soybean acres is explained here. Learn the advantages of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) and Conventional Crops.  Understand the input costs for our corn crop.   

Meet a Farmer – John Thiel March 31, 2011

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Meet John Thiel, local farmer. He shares about his family farm and what he appreciates about agriculture.