I stopped by the Iowa Pork Congress and immediately ran into a couple I have seen every year at this event for more than 25 years. Junior and Violet greeted me with, "Betsy! We need your advice." They are thinking about retiring, at least from the pig business. Their production contract ended and they can either look for another pig supplier or stop feeding hogs. Their barns are old and need work.
I told them what Bob did when his feeding contract ended. He scrapped what he could from the old barns and hired a company to tear down the rest. If you don't get rid of the barns, somebody will come along and say, "I have 500 pigs I need a place for. Can you feed them?" Junior had already been asked to do that. Violet says she won't load hogs any more. Her back can't take it.
I told them to retire. If you are wondering if it's time, it's probably time.
"What will I do when I get up in the morning if I don't have hogs to feed?" said Junior. I suggested a project in the shop. First he could clean the shop, said Violet.
These are salt-of-the-earth people who only leave the farm to attend farm shows. Iowa Pork Congress is their vacation for the year, unless they go wild and also attend World Pork Expo. Every day they fed hogs, moved manure, vaccinated pigs -- and they loved it. The kids live nearby, and Violet helps with the grandkids several days a week.
Good luck to them as they retire. Or at least retire from pig production. Junior reminded me, "I'm still feeding cattle."
Here was my decision for the morning: Should I try both of these foods on display?