Brothers Jimmy and Craig Matthews have been farming most of their lives but are relatively new to raising hogs. They talked about it for a good five years, debating the relative merits of adding pasture-raised hogs to their existing operation, which includes grain crops and confinement turkey houses.
Corn, Soybeans, Turkeys, Hogs
They had a hunch it could work given their sandy soils, which are well suited for outdoor hog production. But they didn’t pull the plug until 2015 when Jimmy met Max Turner, one of the founding members of the NC Natural Hog Growers Association.
By becoming a member of the Association and abiding by their strict quality production protocols and Animal Welfare Approved standards, Jimmy and Craig learned they wouldn’t need to hassle with marketing their hogs. They both prefer raising hogs raising hogs for the Association compared to raising turkeys under contract for a large-scale integrator, which affords them little control or decision-making power. They like being able to select their genetics and adapting their feed mix over time as they learn what the market demands. And they can raise their own grains for feed, which in this case is all non-GMO.