Hog production alternatives
Today's independent hog producers have to choose between production systems that lead in different directions. One is toward confinement feeding of hogs and contracting with vertical integrators, where the motto is ''get big or get out.'' The other direction is toward more sustainable production of a smaller number of hogs and marketing them, through various methods, as part of a whole-farm operation. Kelly Klober, author of Storey's Guide to Raising Pigs and himself a farmer and value-added marketer, notes the large difference between the two types of production.
Many of these independents are saying enough is enough.''
However, before producers decide to sign a contract to produce hogs for a vertical integrator, it is best to understand all aspects of the contract. Farmers' Legal Action Group, Inc., located in Minnesota has several publications and articles on livestock production contracts. Some key questions to be addressed in contracts are listed in FLAG's publication Livestock Production Contracts: Risks for Family Farmers:
In addition, many state departments of agriculture and Cooperative Extension Services have publications available to help producers better understand contracts. It is very important for all parties to read and understand everything before they sign.
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Source: National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA)