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Discussion in 'Pigs' started by Abouttime, Dec 14, 2006.
Does anybody have any experience with raising hogs for a meat company such as Niman's Ranch?
I can't speak for your country but I know that over here it is a real drama and very few small producers get into it - they leave it to the commercial growers.
One couple I know got into it and after 4 years got out of it because the compliance costs were adding up to be more than the income. They had to be MAF registered, provide housing up to a particular standard, put in effluent ponds and pumps, couldn't free-range the sows over the winter, water had to be tested and so it went on.
Perhaps you need to puruse the website of your equivalent of MAF (Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries) or ring around the meat companies and find out what their criteria is.
I've only done some superficial research on the Niman Ranch program, and on the surface it doesn't seem too bad. I didn't really look into it any further because in most cases in a contract grower situation the grower gives up way too much control to the contractor.
If I remember correctly, the Niman Ranch wants the sows pastured, but the slaughter hogs are confinement fed.
Good suggestions, Ronnie-thanks. This particular company, Niman's says they only want family owned and operated farms with one main caretaker.
Tyusclan-perhaps Niman's has changed. From what I've recently read, they want all the hogs pastured or deeply bedded and are flexible regarding feeding. Of course, that's just what it says on paper.