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 are rotated using fenced-in lots or polywire around pastures designated for hog production that have automatic waterers and moveable huts. In the summer, a sprinkler system helps keep the animals cool.
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 are rounded up to receive their ear notches for identification, and the males are castrated. The piglets are weaned around 7-9 weeks of age and will 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 common mechanical problems that may occur with the mill. They become familiar with feeding rates based on the animal’s age and if they are bred. Feeder pigs have free access to the feed to eat as much as they like. Students check feeders and learn to fill the feeders using a tractor and auger.
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 to Marksbury Farm Market in Lancaster, KY. At various times of the year, the College hogs can be seen 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.