Friday, October 23, 2015

We Are Indiana Agriculture: The Hills

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

Heather and Marc Hill farm in Hancock County along with their three kids, Addison, Reese, and Hadley, and Marc’s parents, Steve and Debi.  Hill Farms raises corn, soybeans, wheat and pigs.  Marc is the 4th generation of his family to raise pigs in Hancock County.  “All of the corn we raise on our family farm is used to feed our pigs,” Heather explains.  “We market the majority of the 13,000 pigs we raise each year to Tyson and other packers so that our pork ends up in a grocery store near you; however, we do sell a small percentage of our pigs under our private label, The Pork Shoppe.”Nearly 10 years ago, Debi and Heather started The Pork Shoppe as a way to educate their neighbors about their farm and raise some money for the Hill kids’ college by selling retail pork cuts directly to consumers via farmer’s markets and other retail locations.  “I created the business plan as a part of my final project when I received my MBA.  Today we sell pork under The Pork Shoppe label year-round at  the Farmer’s Market at the fairgrounds in Greenfield, the Statehouse Market from May to October, Tuttle Orchards, the online Hoosier Harvest Market and via appointment.”

All of the pigs at Hill Farms are raised the same, whether they are selling them to Tyson or for The Pork Shoppe.  “Our pigs are our top priority on our family farm and ensuring that we raise healthy pigs so that our family and all of yours have safe and nutritious pork to eat is what it is all about.  Our family is proud to carry on the tradition that was started by our family so many years ago and to be able to build upon their knowledge and combine it with current education to make the best decisions for our animals.  My grandfather died over 25 years ago, and I can only wish that he could see how we raise our pigs today.”

So, whether you buy pork at the grocery store or the farmers’ markets, as a former Indiana Pork Producers Association President, Heather can ensure you that the farmers who raised those pigs provided the best care possible to their pigs.

You can follow along with Heather’s family’s adventures at, on Facebook at, and on Twitter and Instagram at @proudporkmom.

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!”