Producer: Gary Dial
Farm Location: Stratford, Iowa
Distance from Luther: About 178 miles
What is produced on the farm: Pigs
Century Farm breeds and finishes pigs for slaughter. They are also a closed system and grow all their own grain (soy and corn), for their feed. The pigs are sold through Grass Run Farms.
The farm is owned by five families and Gary Dial. Gary was brought in to run the facility due to his knowledge and success in the hog industry. They raise all of their grain and fertilize their fields with manure. There are thirteen finishing buildings, a large breeding facility, and a grain mill. Once the pigs are ready, they are shipped to Omaha to be slaughtered. Grass Run Farms buys them from there. They ship them to Omaha because it is the most economical option for them. They commented that there are no local processors that they can use. After Omaha, the product is shipped to Madison on refrigerated trucks and is distributed from there.
The Luther students who toured the farm noted that the farm was all indoors. The smell was present, but not as bad as what they thought a hog farm would smell like.
The students were surprised to find that the facility was very high tech, dedicated to good animal husbandry practices, and extremely meticulous in their record keeping.
Gary really likes innovation and good animal husbandry. He commented that Europeans are great with animal husbandry but poor business men. He said he enjoys bringing good animal husbandry to the good American business sense.
A huge challenge that faces the farm is economics. Gary said that he has customers demanding consistent meat cuts at a low price. Consistency in meat production is difficult, and it isn't cheap. He has to figure out a way to deliver good products affordably.