Hometown: Gravette, Ark.
Family: Husband, Brian; and daughters Lacy, 21, and Paige, 16
In Town: “This is my 12th year as the only agriculture teacher at Decatur High School with half time staff member Jayme Burden teaching ag at the middle school. About half of the student population goes through the ag program and has a barn for town kids to keep animals. In addition to teaching, I also go with students to summer judging camps and to leadership conferences, as well as work with other local agriculture teachers planning curriculum. I help haul animals to vets and shows and help to monitor weights on all livestock but especially hogs.”
In the Country: “I was raised on a large beef cattle/dairy farm where I benefited from a lot of hands-on experience. My husband Brian and I have 30 acres in Gravette that used to belong to Brian’s grandfather. We raise Durocs, Spots, Chester White and cross hogs and have recently cut our numbers down from 25 sows to 15 due to the current market conditions. We have two boars with one being Duroc and the other a cross. Except for our cross sows, we AI and match a particular sow to a boar selected to help balance out what the sow needs. We collect semen from our Duroc boar, and each sow has two litters per year with the upper half of our piglets sold as show pigs to 4-H and FFA members. We started, when our oldest daughter Lacey wanted to show a red pig so we bought her a registered Duroc gilt. Hofschulte Genetics gave us a retiring boar named Big Papa who served us well. We currently have six farrowing crates with our babies receiving 21 percent protein feed before transitioning to 18 or 19 percent feed. Thereafter each animal receives protein as it grows according to its confirmation. Brian and the girls do the AI, with Lacey being our individual feed specialist and Paige our pig puller.”
Philosophy and Future: “Just as our family is tightknit, my goal is for my agriculture students to work as a family helping each other, respecting each other, and striving to be the best they can be. As important as the feeling of family is, expanding their knowledge of other lifestyles and provide experiences they would not otherwise have. My family and I will always raise pigs, but in the future we might move toward registered pigs only. We will probably keep the numbers the same but add open shows to our current showing because the girls can be over 21 and still participate.”