Jude Becker's organic pig farm

12 of 16
Hundreds of miles from Kellogg Farm, Jude Becker raises pigs in a very different environment. Jude says this pastoral Iowa farm has been in his family for generations. "My great-great-great-grandfather came here in 1850," he says. "We've had pigs for ages and ages."

Ten years ago, Jude took over the family business and transformed it into an organic pig farm. They started small, and today, they have 500 sows. "From those sows, if we get two litters a year, we can market around 6,000 pigs in one year," he says.

When a sow is pregnant, Jude moves her to a spacious field. Currently, he says he has close to 300 pregnant sows spread out over 32 acres. "We spread the food over a big area," he says. "Even a sow that could be smaller, weaker, lower ranked still has the opportunity to eat food."

Jude says he would never keep his sows in gestation crates. He prefers to see them root around in a grassy field. "Something about it just makes me feel good. The positive energy from the animals translates to me," he says. "I think it translates into the food as well. Food is about energy."

Some may think small, organic farms can't turn a profit or keep up with consumer demands, but Jude says they're wrong. "Consumers definitely want this product and are willing to pay the farmer to recoup those costs," he says.

Jude looks to European farmers for inspiration. For the past 20 years, he says innovative British farmers and legislators have worked together to change the way they produce pork. "Now, we have a third of all pigs produced in England today produced outdoors," Jude says.

By 2012, Wayne says gestation crates will be banned throughout the European union. "This is not pie in the sky. We're the nation that put a man on the moon nearly 40 years ago," he says. "Can't we allow animals to move? That's the basic question."
PREVIOUS | NEXT
FROM: Lisa Ling Reports: How We Treat the Animals We Eat
Published on October 14, 2008

NEXT STORY

Comment

LONG FORM
ONE WORD