While interest in humanely raised, antibiotic free, pastured pork is high and growing, there are not yet enough farmers committed to raising heritage pigs to ensure breed survival. The SARE report also noted that ‘in order for endangered breeds to survive, the animals must bring a profit to the farmer”. Experienced and novice heritage pig farmers need systems, tools and processes specific to these rare breeds, as pasture raised heritage pigs have markedly different needs than pigs reared in confinement. Without these essentials, farmers will struggle to successfully raise and market their animals and effectively compete with large scale industrialized producers.
A recent Farm Credit System report entitled Causes of Farm & Ranch Failure highlighted inadequate business planning, insufficient information and insufficient monitoring as three significant causes of preventable farm failure. Specifically, the report noted the following issues:
Too many people have gone into the farm business or expanded existing farms without adequate planning, analyzing the associated costs, or analyzing potential risks. Moreover, much of the planning that has been done has been based on inadequate research, insufficient information and unrealistic expectations.
Inadequate information resulted in plans that were not based on accurate, well-documented information, and instead involved too much wishful thinking.
Insufficient monitoring by farmers at the beginning and end of the year, as well as on an ongoing basis - comparing plans to actual performance and taking action when it is needed- caused farms to fail or develop serious problems simply because it was too late before the farmers realized that something was wrong.