Producer: AR Pork, Jason Domeyer
Location: Earlville, Iowa
Pictured front row left to right: Myles Payne, Kennedy Duddeck, Kian Payne, Quinn Duddeck, Jordan Duddeck. Back row left to right: Jenna Duddeck, Ron Domeyer & Melissa Payne.
About the farm.
Our operation is very family involved, including my dad, myself, my two sisters and my kids. My dad started the farm in 1980 and farmed independently until I became a partner in 2002. My sister, Jenna Duddeck, partnered in 2008, the other sister, Melissa Payne, joined in April of this year. All kids are exposed to activities on the farm. I have 5 children, Jenna has 4 and Melissa has 2. We used to have a true farrow-to-finish operation that turned out 1300 pigs every 4 weeks. Just recently, we decided to switch to wean-to-finish where we will be processing 2600 pigs every 4 weeks. We are currently in the midst of remodeling to adapt to a wean-to-finish site. We started remodeling in February and are planning to finish in November. Throughout the remodel to all the barns, our operation never stopped or even slowed down once.
Tell us about your work with PIPESTONE and Big Stone Marketing.
I started working with Big Stone in June of 2019 with Chris McCulloh. I have been marketing with them 100% since day one. They keep their nose to the grindstone and are maximizing the profitability. Big Stone Marketing is a phenomenal value to have because they are knowledgeable, can hedge positions and their marketing flexibilities are great. Big Stone was also great to work with through Covid and were able to get everything accomplished. We also watch the webinars that Big Stone puts out once a month.
What measures do you take to practice responsible antibiotic use?
We do not treat pigs unless they need to be treated.
What are some new technologies and practices that you have implemented on your farm?
I am exploring doing a web-based facility monitoring system to control water, power and temperature. We live on the same site where the pigs are; however, if there was a certain situation it would be nice to have the notifications in case something were to go wrong. We were using a computer-based feeding system for the sows until we converted back to self-feeding. For us, we learned that computer-based feeding was not practical for a growing pig, they need a self-feeder.
What aspirations do you have for your farm 5 years from now?
I would like to bring the kids into the operation if they are willing and have the desire to continue the farm. I also want to continue to grow the business to maximize our costs. Ideally, I would like to build an operation to have all our own financing for the operation.
What do you enjoy most about pig farming?
What I enjoy the most is always challenging myself to do as good or better than before every time we send pigs to market. Looking at the kill sheets and seeing what I did before to get the best average weight is what I enjoy the most. I like the challenge of knowing I can constantly improve.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced raising pigs?
I do not think there is a challenge- we just do it. When you enjoy what you are doing, you just do it and learn how to adapt. If I had to pick one challenge, it would be keeping track of break evens.