Young producers Ty and Brody Hawkins have their own growing livestock operation
KINGSTON, ARK. – Ty and Brody Hawkins of Kingston Ark., are the epitome of a farm kid. They fit the description of a Norman Rockwell painting. With wild blonde hair and bright blue eyes, they are inseparable and always “up to something,” according to their mom.
Ty is in the sixth grade and Brody is in fourth at Kingston schools.
Sons of Doug and Kaela Hawkins, they are fourth-generation cattle producers. Ty and Brody both are heavily involved in 4-H. Ty shows pigs, goats, cows, rabbits and chickens. Brody shows pigs, chickens, rabbits and goats.
At T-B Mini Farm, each animal is cared for with much fondness. There’s even a miniature pond with misfit, adopted baby aquatic animals. Anything from soft shell turtles to crawdads and minnows are happily swimming around.
Ty and Brody also speak fondly of their show pigs – Casey and Sherry. They are Landrace and Hampshire crosses. Ty and Brody raised the pigs from birth up.
The boys’ daily chores consist of feeding their pigs, cattle, goats and seven rabbits, 19 hens and a rooster, and they walk their pigs every day to prepare for the upcoming shows. Ty and Brody are in charge of training their pigs from the ground up.
Both boys can artificially inseminate pigs as well, which they learned from their father and they raise multiple litters a year. They sell their best stock as show animals and the rest to butcher and help feed their family.
When their sows are ready to give birth, the boys are camped out in the pig barn patiently awaiting the big event. They help keep the baby pigs warm under a heat lamp and dry them off as soon as they are born and make sure they go straight to their mom to nurse. The boys are serious about their pigs and take every step with the most care and attention. Each of their pigs they have sold as show stock have done quite well at local shows and they are very proud. They have enjoyed participating in the Arkansas Junior Swine Series classes in Fayetteville, Ark., and have learned a great deal by attending.
The boys have done well in the swine showing business. Both showed at the National Junior Swine Association Show held earlier this month in Woodard, Okla., this year.
Between shows and 4-H, the boys agree that their favorite part is learning more about swine showing and the community.
There are other aspects of 4-H the boys said they love and think are important.
Ty enjoys art and both boys love cooking and photography.
They’ve have each won multiple awards with their photography and can be found snapping pictures around the farm while chasing cattle or raking hay. They also enjoy participating in BB shooting sports events in 4-H, and have qualified for state competition.
Both boys said 4-H is important and encourage other young people to become involved, and for adults to show their support for the organization and for local farmers.
Raising pigs is Brody’s favorite part of being involved in agriculture, especially at farrowing time. He loves wiping them down when they are fresh and watching them nurse. Ty also loves to rake hay with his dad and is pretty handy with the tractor.
Brody also enjoys swine production, especially showing, and also helping his brother when it comes time for the pigs to give birth.
The Hawkins boys may be youngesters, but they have a firm grip on what agriculture is and it’s importance.
“Knowing where your food comes from is very important and it also teaches you how to value life and be kind to animals and that you have to be responsible for them,” Ty said.
“Agriculture teaches you about money and how to be gentle and patient with animals,” Brody added.