Rose Konold incorporates rotating pastures and custom mixing feed to finish her hogs out right

This is the story of one woman’s quest to find the best method for raising her Tamworth hogs. In the process she crafted a natural fit with the highly regarded and strictly regulated Animal Welfare criteria, the gold standard for animal rights.
Rose Konold was born and raised in the Jonesboro, Ark., area. She attended Arkansas State University in Jonesboro seeking a degree in wildlife management. When she discovered she was “a little too idealistic” for a degree that focused more on hunting than animal welfare, she took a side trip and earned a degree at the renowned Cordon Bleu cooking school in France before finishing her wildlife management degree.
While in Colorado, Rose met her husband, Glenn, through the catering industry “working with mounds of food and cutting up carcasses of beef.” The couple landed in Arkansas in 1999 and transitioned from Missouri Fox Trotters to hogs, which was a natural fit because Glenn had been raised on a hog and lamb feedlot in eastern Colorado. Because his family had raised Hampshire hogs, Rose started with Hampshire sows. However, Rose read that the Tamworth are good foragers and decided to try them through AI and eventually bought a registered boar. Rose said, “The Tamworth are perfect for here because of the wooded land and their foraging capacity. Foraging improves the quality of the meat, and you could actually finish hogs in the fall on the wooded land because of the fat in the acorns and other mast.”
Mason Creek Farm has 60 acres. The breeding stock, composed of eight sows weighing up to 600 pounds and one two-year-old boar, has 20 acres set aside for them. The rest of the acreage is divided into five pastures subdivided into five paddocks with 16 hogs on each pasture group and rotated through the different paddocks in each pasture to naturally control parasite problems. Solar powered portable electric fencing keeps the hogs in the appropriate section. The farm currently has 45 fat hogs. Rose is pleased with her hog production and feels that by this, their fifth generation, she has reached a consistency of product within her system.
Rose said, “I rotate pastures every month and reseed with rye and white clover to help with weed control and erosion.” Erosion can be a problem because the hogs disturb the surface of the non-wooded pasture ground although the severity of the problem is determined by the kind of soil and grasses on the ground. Reseeding with the clover successfully handles the erosion problem and helps keeps nutritional levels high.
Rose hauls water and her own custom mixed feed to the hogs twice per day. She mixes organic mineral, soybean meal, corn chops and wheat nibs. She also occasionally supplements with spent barley from West Mountain Brewery because it contains 15 percent protein, and the hogs love it when it’s fresh.
Unlike the standards for labeling products as organic, Animal Welfare keeps tightening their standards. The focus is that the farms must be family owned and the animals are entirely on pasture from birth to death. Extensive and exact records are necessary, which concludes with an annual mandatory health plan animal review. Rose keeps data in calendar form and at the end of the year transfers the information organizing by individual animal. The sows and boar are on a set deworming and vaccination schedule because some reproductive diseases are carried by the local wildlife populations and can only be treated by vaccines for parvo and lepto. Pasture rotation takes care of deworming for the fat hogs and reproductive vaccines are unnecessary.
Mason Creek Farm is one of the sponsors for the local NPR station. Sponsorship increases public awareness of the farm who markets their meat at the Fayetteville, Bentonville and Eureka Springs, Ark., farmers markets as well as to local restaurants including Brick House Kitchen in Fayetteville and Tusk and Trotter in Bentonville. The farm also has a website for its products. A new line of processed meats using celery juice extract as a source for natural sodium nitrate in the production of smoked pepperoni, smoked Polish sausage, ham, Canadian bacon and bacon is being developed.
Rose feels that one of the most difficult problems is government regulations that require the small, niche farmer to pay the same price of $1,000 per product for a health and safety plan. The issue becomes clear when realizing the small farmer might sell only 100 pounds of product as opposed to 100,000 pounds for large producers.
Before checking on her hogs, Rose said, “Capital for the farmer is a tool chest of knowledge that covers a wide variety of skill sets.” She then went to one of the paddocks where a group of fat hogs started following her like the Pied Piper in the fairytale of old.


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