Over two years ago, Austin Betzold — a college student at Iowa State University — was making plans for his future. From a young age, Betzold knew his dream career involved farming. Raised on a grain and 200-head cow-calf operation, he knew what it took to farm. In order to return to the family farm full time, Betzold needed a solid plan.
A way to earn steady income combined with a passion for animals, Betzold researched raising pigs on contract. After many discussions with Nic Anderson at the Illinois Livestock Development Group and production partner Phil Borgic, he formulated his plan to embark on his new swine business.
While raising pigs on contract to provide Betzold with a paycheck every week, it also connects him with a trusted mentor — Borgic, an Illinois pork producer. Until 2010, Borgic did not finish his own pigs. Establishing his production partnership network enables him to retain ownership of the pigs born in his sow units. Today, Borgic Farms has 35 production partners across Illinois and Iowa.
After much planning, obtaining the financial backing and securing a production partner, Betzold’s dream became a reality. With his family by his side, Betzold celebrated his accomplishment by opening his barn to the public on May 3. On May 7, Betzold will receive his first shipment of pigs in his new hog barn near Nokomis, Ill.
In this slideshow, we take a closer look at Betzold’s 2,400 hog finishing facility.