Diversifying a Small Crop Farm with Hogs, Poultry, Apples and Plums

1997 Annual Report for FNC97-190

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 1997: $1,536.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/1998
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:

Diversifying a Small Crop Farm with Hogs, Poultry, Apples and Plums


Diversification and direct marketing complement family farms, rural communities and the overall concept of sustainable agriculture.

Objectives: 1) To diversify farm production to reduce financial and environmental risks of conventional crop farming, and 2) To create community awareness of positive benefits to soil, water, and health of man and animals by utilizing more natural methods of farming.

Methods: Four acres of cropland were planted to a grass/legume mix and fenced with hi-tensile wire. Apple and plum trees were planted on the perimeter for a living windbreak to enhance wildlife and provide an alternative income crop. The pasture was divided into two paddocks with chickens in movable cages in one paddock and sows with piglets in the other.

Results: Three flocks of chickens were produced and direct marketed at $1.25 per lb dressed. Feeder pigs were pastured until mid-September then finished in confinement and direct marketed in mid-December with a live weight premium of about 18 cents per lb. The project provided a great learning experience for the Aspelund family and created an awareness of food production for their customers. An added benefit was an increase in wildlife associated with the permanent pasture. Plans are to increase livestock production and await production from the fruit trees.

North Central Region SARE 1998 Annual Report.