The Land Stewardship Project's (LSP) latest farm case study shows that
sustainable hog production on a diversified operation can be profitable and good
for the environment.
"An Agriculture That Makes Sense: Making Money on Hogs" focuses on the 50-sow
hog enterprise of one Minnesota crop and livestock operation. In the analysis,
the farm's production records are compared to the averages of the top performing
hog operations as reported in a regional Minnesota Farm Business Management
Program annual report.
The case study farm minimizes expenses through such production practices as
outdoor farrowing and low cost housing. And instead of focusing on increasing
productivity no matter what the environmental, social and economic cost, the
farm family involved in the study emphasies profitability, according to LSP's
Jodi Dansingburg, who conducted the case study with Doug Gunnick of the
Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The result is a farming enterprise that
produces hogs for about 13 cents per pound cheaper that the industry standard.
As a result of the farm's lower production costs, its return over costs was more
than three times that of the average top performing hog farms in 1988 and 1992.
That makes hogs the 350-acre farm's most lucrative enterprise.
"This case study demonstrates that on a cost-of-production basis, diversified
family-sized farms raising hogs in an environmentally sound way can yield
healthy financial returns," said Dansingburg. "This kind of livestock production
offers an excellent opportunity for beginning farmers hoping to make an entry
into the business."
This is the second in LSP's "An Agriculture That Makes Sense" series.
For a copy of the eight-page "Making Money on Hogs," send $4 (That includes
postage; Minnesota residents add 6.5 percent sales tax) to: LSP, 2200 4th St.,
White Bear Lake, MN 55110. There is a 10 percent discount for LSP members and
bulk orders of 20 or more. For more information on bulk orders, call LSP at