Source: Illinois Pork Producers Association
Andy Gathman, a young farmer from Mason County, Ill., and recent graduate from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, has found ways to come back to the family farm full time. Neighbors and members of the community joined to celebrate the opening of the Gathman’s new 2,400 head wean-to-finish pig barn at an Open House on June 15. Andy and his father, Gary, are owners of the barn. His brother, Tony, will also lend a hand when needed.
Andy says, “After college, I worked off the farm for a while, but was looking for ways to get home. Diversifying with livestock has allowed me to be home and farm full time with my dad. It has been a great experience. We grow field corn, popcorn, green beans and soybeans, and recently added cattle. Adding livestock to our family farm has given me countless opportunities. I am excited to see where pork production takes us as well.”
A ribbon-cutting ceremony commenced the opening of the barn, and a pork chop supper was provided to attendees. The open house took place before pigs arrive to ensure ample time for the barn to be deep cleaned and ready for their arrival. This barn will receive its first load of piglets in the coming weeks. Pigs will come in at approximately 12 pounds and live here until they reach market weight of around 280 pounds. This will take place in a six-month period. They will raise two groups of pigs per year.
Modern pig barns include numerous advancements in technology. The pigs will have feed and water access all hours of the day, thanks to automatic feed systems located in each pen. Ventilation is controlled throughout the barn keeping pigs cool and comfortable through the warm months and, alternatively, warm in the winter. Layers of air filters and “cool cell pads” act as air conditioning during the summer.
Thank you to the following sponsors: ILDG, Longhorn Cattle & Swine Confinement, The Maschhoffs, Illinois Pork Producers Association and Pork Checkoff, Maximum Ag Technologies, Farmweld, Bank of Springfield, Canton Ready-Mix (Havana and Canton Plants), and Mason County Farm Bureau.