Burke Farms: Big Stone Marketing Producer Highlight


Producer: Burke Farms, Tom and Patti Burke

Location: Janesville, MN



Burke Farms is a wean-to-finish swine operation, and a corn and soybean crop farm. The farm started with Tom Burke’s father, but later grew, passing the farm to the future generation. Today, Tom and his brother, Larry, continue the family legacy of pig farming.


What does the statement “enhance performance” mean to the success of your operation?

Enhance performance means efficiency in crop and swine production by utilizing sound data and working with consultants that help us achieve top performance. Having Dr. Gordon Spronk as a consulting veterinarian at our sow farm and grow-finish farm has brought top management decisions to our operation.

What is an example of how you have enhanced performance on your farm over the years?

We have enhanced performance at our farm over the years by going from a 500-sow farrow-to-finish operation to purchasing shares in a sow farm managed by Pipestone Management.

What improvements or advancements have you made to your farm since you started?

At the farm level, we have always tried to enhance performance and that started back when we were a farrow-to-finish operation and utilized “all-in, all-out” production. Our farm was the first farm that was used to develop the record keeping system, Pig Champ, by Dr. Tom Stein from the University of Minnesota. We tracked F/G, days to market, cost per pound gain and harvest data to enhance performance. We also had shares in a Pipestone managed farm, to help bring top genetics to our sow farms.

Over the years, we have had the opportunity to work with some great consults including: Dr. Tom Wetzel and Dr. Tom Stein, and PIPESTONE employees, Dr. Gordon Spronk, Dr. Luke Minion, Dr. Bryan Myers and Hannah Walkes. We have used their knowledge to make our business more efficient in all aspects of operation.

What are your future aspirations for your farm?

We hope to continue to be more efficient, keep pig health a top priority in the industry and grow when the opportunities arise.


What do you enjoy most about working with PIPESTONE and the Big Stone Marketing Team?

We started working with PIPESTONE in 1996 and Big Stone in 2017. I knew Dr. Gordon Spronk from the mid-1980’s and started working with Dr. Luke Minion soon after he joined PIPESTONE. Dr. Minion became the herd vet for our sow farm, Hawkeye 3. Then Hannah Walkes joined as a grow-finish consultant.

Working with Big Stone has been a big addition for our farm in the marketing area. They help to analyze our best marketing weights at specific packers. Ashley and Christine do a great job of placing all our positions on the board, making it a smoother process. Big Stone help in targeting the top 20% of where to market when opportunities arise.