Veteran swine producer sees change in the industry


Veteran swine producer sees change in the industry

A long-time swine producer says new opportunities are developing in the pork industry.

Everett Forkner raises pigs, cattle and grows crops in southwest Missouri. He tells Brownfield while large farming operations will still be in demand, niche markets are growing.

“This will be a different kind of an opportunity to where, maybe, you will have more of a hands-on, local [focus] you’ll meet the people yourselves,” Forkner said. “I think there will be a certain amount of rewards that come from that will allow it to flourish.”

Forkner said the pork supply chain has made major changes during his time as a producer; like breeders moving from raising pigs through their entire lifecycle to a specialized production system with different farms handling specific stages of a pig’s growth. He said he is seeing those niche parts of the swine market revert back to raising pigs at every stage of their growth.

“As it [the swine industry] has become as consolidated as much as it has, we are going to see a change to where that we are going to come back down to the grassroots, and we already see it,” he Forkner said.

He said if niche markets continue to expand, like specialty farms and direct producer to consumer selling, it will open more doors for young people to enter the industry because of fewer barriers compared to conventional farming.