Ag students, CEO Club team up to sell Berkshire Pork
NIACC Agriculture students and the CEO Club are teaming up to run Berkshire Unlimited, a student operated business that produces and sells Berkshire Pork, according to Larry Eichmeier, Agricultural Technologies Division chair.
“Any student who is interested can participate,” Eichmeier said.
Berkshire pork is high quality meat that is known for a delicious combination of juiciness, flavor and tenderness Eichmeier said.
According to Eichmeier, the NIACC farm received the first ten Berkshire sows about a year ago as a donation from Al and Adam Conover who are synonymous in the Berkshire industry.
The entire process from breeding the pigs to raising them until they are ready to be butchered is done on the NIACC farm Eichmeier said.
First, the sows are bred and kept in the gestation barn until approximately a week prior to farrowing. The sows are then moved to the farrowing house where they remain for about three weeks after the baby pigs arrive.
“Momma takes pretty good care of them, so it’s not too difficult,” Eichmeier said about the amount of work it takes to care for the baby pigs.
The baby pigs are then weaned off of their mother’s milk and moved into the nursery where they are started on feed rations.
After the pigs have grown to about 60 or 70 pounds, the pigs are moved to the finishing house where they stay until they have reached a market weight of 270 pounds.
Once the pigs have reached market weight, they are ready to be taken to the meat locker to be processed.
At the locker, the pigs are butchered and the meat is then inspected by a state certified meat inspector, separated and packaged into individual portions Eichmeier said.
According to Eichmeier, the students will determine the prices for the meat, but everything will be figured in, no matter how little or much is bought at one time.
Seven of the first generation of Berkshire pigs were kept and 15 were sold to other breeders Eichmeier said.
The second generation of Berkshire pigs was processed in April 2007 and available for sale to the public.
Eichmeier said that he is hopeful that there will be 50 - 60 pigs for sale by the fall of 2007.
In the future, Eichmeier said he hopes they can develop a network of producers that will raise the pigs and the student run business can be utilized as a group of spokesmen and marketers.
“It’s kind of my vision to start some economic development,” Eichmeier said.
Anyone who is interested in the business or who wishes to purchase some of the high quality Berkshire meat can contact Larry Eichmeier at (641) 422-4225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.