Pigs on the Berea College Farm are raised entirely on pasture, where they have access to shelter, wallows, and plenty of room to root. The herd consists of various breeds, including Yorkshire, Berkshire, and Duroc. Hogs rotate using fenced-in lots or polywire around pastures designated for hog production that include automatic waterers and moveable huts. In the summer, a sprinkler system helps keep the animals cool.
Life on the Farm
Students working on the Farm or participating in ANR courses can experience all aspects of pork production, including grinding the feed ration in the feed mill, breeding procedures, pasture rotations and selecting finished hogs for market. Farmworkers breed sows and gilts twice a year using a combination of traditional breeding with boars and artificial insemination. Farrowing occurs in the spring and again in fall. After a few days with mom, piglets receive their ear notches for identification, and the males are castrated. The piglets are weaned around 7-9 weeks of age to be raised for meat or incorporated into the breeding group. Feed for the hog herd is mixed on the Farm in the feed mill and consists of corn, soybean and a vitamin/mineral premix. Students learn to run the feed mill to grind rations and fix potential common mechanical problems with the mill. They become familiar with feeding rates based on the animal’s age and whether or not they’ve bred. Feeder pigs have free access to the feed to eat as much as they like. Students check feeders and learn to fill them using a tractor and auger.
Farm to Table
The pigs are Animal Welfare Approved. Pork raised on the Berea College Farm is marketed to the College Dining Hall, the Berea College Farm Store, and Marksbury Farm Market in Lancaster, KY. Throughout the year, visitors to Berea can see the College hogs in lots bordering the highway. People walking, running or biking along this path can enjoy seeing them playing, rooting, wallowing and napping throughout the day.