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July 30, 2009

Pig farms almost a thing of the past in Texas

Millie Jean Coppedge - Reminiscing Royse City

Can you imagine if you got up tomorrow morning ready for breakfast and found that there was no more bacon, sausage, or ham? If you wanted to throw some ribs on the barbeque grill or have a big pork roast with onions, potatoes, and carrots for Sunday dinner, but there was no more pork in the stores. I bet that has never even crossed your mind.

I am a real pork lover and just cannot imagine not having any of these delicious meats! There is nothing better than dumplings made from the drippings of a ham that has been slow-cooking all day. But don’t go to a restaurant expecting to find ham dumplings. That’s a form of “country cooking” that’s almost extinct. These are just thoughts to stimulate your thinking.

When I started trying to find pig farmers around the Royse City area, I somewhat ran into a dead end. Farmers in Texas just don’t raise pigs in a mass quanity like they once did. It is hard to find a true “Pig Farm”. Oh, they may raise a few for consumption, but not the numbers that you would expect to find on a true pig farm.

David Arnold taught AG (Agriculture) in Royse City for 30 years before he retired. He says that he originally had his students raise cattle, but when the price of feed and other expenses began to skyrocket, it just got too expensive for his students. So he switched them over to raising pigs.

He says that in his Future Farmers of American program, he would travel to the corn-belt, the midwest states of Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, and Indiana to purchase pigs for his students to raise for “show”. He says that these farms raise from 100 to several hundred pigs, with the biggest operation raising over 300 sows.

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