Oct. 9 started out with three busloads of area FFA students, 140 in total, pulling up to Reicks View Farms Busch Finisher Barn at 9 a.m. and ran non-stop until 7 p.m., with local residents coming by to see what modern pig farming is all about.
All told, more than 500 people made the trip to tour the new state-of-the-art facility south of Cresco throughout the day.
“It was so great to see so many people from the area coming to learn about how we raise hogs today,” says Dale Reicks, owner of Reicks View Farms. “Having this small window of time before the pigs arrived at the barn was a great opportunity for everyone to see what a barn is really like.
“It was especially great to see the FFA students here, learning about the sustainability of modern hog farming,” Reicks says. “We were able to show them how the crops we grow go into the feed for the hogs and the manure from the hogs goes back in the ground to feed the next year’s crop.”
Reicks View Farms' employees conducted group tours through the day and answered questions about how the barn supports up to 7,499 hogs as they grow to market weight.
“The questions were non-stop,” says Mark Hover, senior production manager of Reicks View Farms. “I think most people went away with a better understanding of the care and expertise that goes into raising pigs.
“And it was very rewarding for our staff to see the interest from the community. To maintain the strict biosecurity the pigs need, we can’t often show them all the technology we use on the farm today and the passion our employees have for the important work they do on the farm every day.”
The open house also served to demonstrate the many jobs available locally in the ag industry.
“We were able to show the FFA students and other visitors that, in addition to animal care, there are many career opportunities on today’s farm,” says Haley Pagel, HR specialist and communications coordinator at Reicks View Farms. “Most people don’t think about applying at a farm for a job as a mechanic, maintenance worker, bookkeeper, even a communications person. There are many types of skills needed to run a farm today.”
As for the Busch Finisher Barn, it will be doing its job supporting the health and well-being of the pigs arriving to populate it.