Thursday, October 1, 2015

We Are Indiana Agriculture: The Schoettmers

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

Keith Schoettmer and his wife of 33 years, Darla, started Schoettmer Prime Pork, Inc. in Tipton, Ind. in 1987. Their pig farm began when they bought a 450-sow operation on contract from another farmer. “We built aggressively through the 90’s and slowly worked our way up to 1050 sows, which is our current sow inventory.  We place the highest emphasis on herd health.” The first-generation farm is a farrow-to-finish pig farm that raises nearly 23,000 pigs per year from the 1050 sows. “This is a daily inventory of around 12,000 head kept in 13 barns, including three off-site units.” The Schoettmers do not farm any row crops; however, they purchase nearly 225,000 bushels of corn, used for pig feed, from neighbors.

The Purdue University graduate cares strongly about the welfare of his animals. “The first step is to be sure we have the right, well-trained people in place to care for the animals every day, 365 days a year. We constantly monitor the environment the animals live in to make them as comfortable as possible. We are also constantly analyzing the nutrition of the pigs to be sure they have balanced feed every day.”

Keith and Darla are the parents of four children, three of whom are married. They also have four grandchildren with two on the way. Keith says that God is a very integral part of their farm. “We have a staff of eight people on our farm.  This includes a full-time maintenance person and two managers who oversee the production on a daily basis. We value our employees both on and off the farm and start each day with a staff devotion and prayer.”

So, where can you buy pork from Schoettmer Prime Pork, Inc.? Keith explains, “We do not sell direct to consumers, but through Indiana Packers in Delphi, so if you buy Indiana Kitchen Pork, you may have eaten some of our product!”

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