Students learn sustainable agriculture practices by pasture-raising school-owned hogs. Students make management decisions with mentorship from Swickard Farm, dedicated to land conservation and all dependent organisms (note: before CAPS pig project, Swickard had only cattle, sheep and chickens). Students utilize grasses and nuts found on the acreage and employ multi-species grazing. They have hands-on experiences in all aspects of pork production (from impregnation, to farrowing, to harvest) and become decision-makers in their own small agribusiness. Students explore a myriad of careers, share their experiences on social media, and mentor elementary school students, plus facilitate a community pork event.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Increase sustainable farming skills by understanding the role hogs play in the health of land and other animals.
- Empower students to be decision makers for small agri-business, embracing sustainable practices. Develop agricultural economics knowledge through price determination, marketing and distribution of resulting pork products.
- Give students hands-on experience in pork production: farrowing, lactation, weaning, piglet processing (ear notching, vaccinations, castrations), parasite/disease control/prevention, winter preparation, feed formulation, stocking rate calculations, water management and finishing.
- Share project by teaching younger students, family farm visits, social media and presentation at community restaurant featuring our pork products.