Shelton family diversifies farm in partership with hog production company
SHELTON, Neb. —
One Shelton family plans to combat fertilizer prices with a wean-to-finish hog barn, but they decided they couldn't do it alone. On Dec. 21, over 5,000 pigs will be delivered to their brand new barn. Farmer and father, Simon Wagoner, explained one reason why his family took a step away from the family-business approach and partnered with a bigger business.
"Diversification is something huge for me, I'm always trying different things, I'm not scared to try new things," said Wagoner.
Simon said that some neighbors are skeptical of the deal with the Maschhoffs, which is the fourth largest hog production company in North America.
"They haven't been around a hog barn for 20, 30 years, they don't realize how many fans are in here and how many - the ventilation is just, night and day different from what the barns that they're probably thinking of in the past," said Wagoner.
John Csukker, of The Maschhoffs, said some people believe partnerships like this take away the livelihood of rural America. Csukker believes otherwise.
"It's bringing these farmers who want to bring back a son or daughter or in-law or daughter-in-law, back from college, back to farm because land is limited, land is competitive. This allows them to start an operation of their own and help diversify their operation," said Csukker.
Thirty Nebraska families have partnered with The Maschhoffs, while in Iowa, over 400 families signed contracts just like this one. Gracie Wagoner, the oldest daughter, thinks this deal might help her and her siblings in the future.
"It's going to give us a good head start to our future occupations and what we're going to do and hopefully a good college to go to," said Gracie.
The Wagoners call the barn the 4R4K Fertilizer Factory. It's named after the commodity prices the family plans to beat by using their own fertilizer. For their four kids, mother Mandi, said this farm is for them.
"To have them come back some day if they choose to and carry on the farm," Mandi said.
The Wagoner family plans to see their first swine harvest near May 2018. They'll have hogs weighing in at over 250 pounds.