So one of the issues with running a ministry to help people is how to feed them. We can crank out a lot of vegetables in a short amount of time consistently, and we can product an amount of fish, but it's not enough.
One of the ways we are looking into supplementing our food source and income is by producing pastured pork.
When I was growing up, my grandfather raised pigs in large pens and he would rotate them through the breeding phase all the way to market in enclosed pens, or large farm yards and feed them exclusively on factory produced feeds.
However, just like the pastured eggs, the quality of your pork can be increased by allowing them to forage in pastures.
Lets look at a realistic model and the financial breakdown of producing meat from pigs on a small farm.
In this model we are raising 2 pigs from weaner stage to 210 lbs.
2 Weaner pigs at $75 each: $150
Feed (1350 lbs)
Pig Starter (1 bag): $26.59
Grower (11 bags): $126.50
Finisher (15 bags): $159.00
Livestock production costs: $506.09 ($1.39 per lb.)
Farm Kill: $100.00
Cut / Wrap $182.50 ($.44 per lb hanging)
Cure: $62.55 ($0.45 per lb)
Butcher Total: $345.05 ($0.95 per lb)
Final Totals: $851.14 ($2.34 per lb)
The average cost of selling a pig as hanging weight is around $3.50 a lb and you can expect about 80% meat from a hanging weight pig.
If you sell one pig as hanging weight you will profit $309.43
If you keep the other pig for meat, it will cost you $425.57 for 168 lbs of meat (that's $2.53 per lb.)
Final Word On Making Money With Pastured Pork
Yes, you can make money, if you can find the customer and put them together with the butcher.
Also, if you re-invest into your pork business next year and get 3 weaners, at the end of the year, the profit from the first two pigs will more than pay for the cost of the third pig.
I would not put my whole farm into producing pigs, but as one piece of the puzzle, pastured pork is a great return on investment.