Do you want to start a pig farm? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a pig farming business with NO money and no experience plus a sample pig farming Business plan template.
It is very easy to note that the agricultural landscape in America has changed extensively over the past two generations. Constant research, steady and meaningful knowledge and the adoption of technology have advanced modern pig farming methods.
Farmers have adopted modern practices out of concern for animal well-being, food safety and the environment based on sound science and input from agricultural experts. In this industry, a lot of pig diseases have even been cured and forgotten. Also the general health of pigs has improved greatly. Better food safety measures have led to a safer pork supply.
We believe that successful pig farmers have successfully applied lessons from the past into the development of better farming methods today. They will continue to be resourceful, innovative and responsible producers of food for generations to come.
But due to the fact that pig farming business is not popular today, a lot of people think it’s not lucrative. When compared to poultry, fish and other forms of animal farming, the mortality rate in pig farming is low. They’re rugged and have the ability to survive for days without food. People who know about it will tell you that raising pigs is easy, as their food is readily available and they eat most foods humans eat.
It has been proven that pigs have a stronger system. Falling sick is rare as long as they get the required food and vaccines regularly. Also note that pig farming generates more profit than other forms of farming. So if you’re interested in this lucrative aspect of farming, read on to understand the various stages of starting a lucrative pig farm.
Steps to Starting a Pig Farming Business
1. Understand the Industry
Businesses in this industry farm hogs and pigs in operations that include breeding, farrowing, weaning and raising feeder pigs or market-size hogs. The term pig usually refers to the domestic mammal when it is young or small, while hog is the name typically given to domesticated pigs that weigh more than 120 pounds.
Even though the animal raised in this industry are largely homogenous, hog and pig farming operations differentiate themselves according to their stage in the hog raising process. Have it in mind that hog production is a 3-stage process, starting with the farrowing and ending with finishing.
The different types of industry farms include farrow-to-wean, farrow-to-feeder, nursery, farrow-to-finish and finish only farms. Farrow-to-wean operations are the first stage in hog production; here, piglets are born and suckled by their mothers for three weeks.
Report has it that Farrow-to-wean farms account for 8.5% of industry activities. After that comes the nursery operations, where weaned piglets spend on average 8 weeks until they grow to about 50 pounds; nursery-only farms account for 2.7% of industry farm.
According to reports, the Hog and Pig Farming industry has suffered the effects of falling prices over the past five years. It is believed that the massive hit to the price of feed substantially reduced industry revenue, and price-based competition from other meats like beef and poultry has kept revenue down, even as consumer demand for pork has grown.
But experts believe that the next five years to 2022 has more positive trends for the industry. With the stagnating growth of per capita pork consumption and continually falling prices of red meat and poultry, revenue will continue to reduce.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
We agree that pig farming cannot be for everyone, but it can be very profitable if you have a good business plan and the drive needed to succeed. We believe this business will be best for you if you really have a love for growing things. Note that you must also be willing to work extensive hours and have patience when the pigs struggle to thrive.
Have it in mind that a food distributor for a large supermarket chain or a butcher in the farmers market will be willing to buy your stock, which guarantees the sale. However, the growing demand for pork ensures that your pigs will always generate steady income if your breed them successfully. A farm stand can generate income once the pigs grow and become productive.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
For you to succeed in this industry, you have to make sure no details are left out. A piggery business proposal will include the business summary, market analysis, marketing plan, and the future projection of the business. Note that with a business plan, it’s easier to get investors who’ll be kin on investing in your business, and the business plan equally helps to put you on track when you’re deviating.
But before we get to the point where you source for funds, you have to decide the niche you hope to focus on. Knowledge about pigs and your ideas for the business will be essential in making this decision. These niches may include…
- Farrow-to-finish operations
- Feeder pig farming
- Hog feedlots (except stockyards for transportation)
- Hog and pig farms (including breeding, farrowing, nursery and finishing activities)
- Weaning pig operations
Level of Competition in the Industry
Research has it that The People’s Republic of China accounts for about 50% of the world’s swine population and produces about half of the world’s pork.
The EU and the US are the next largest producers of pork. The US hog and pig farming industry includes some 56,000 farms, about 22,000 of which generate the majority of their income from hogs and pigs, with combined annual revenue of about $23 billion.
Hog farming is made up of six stages: breeding; gestation; birthing (known in the industry as farrowing); weaning; nursery; and grow finishing, where the hog reaches its ideal weight. A lot of large companies are vertically integrated and have farming, slaughter, and processing operations.
We believe that industry demand is moved primarily by domestic and international trends in pork consumption. Note that the profitability of individual businesses rests on efficient operations and reducing the spread of diseases. Bigger businesses have upper hands in vertically integrating operations from birthing to packaging and distribution.
While smaller businesses, typically family-owned farms, can compete by focusing on a single stage of hog farming or by raising animals that are humanely treated, antibiotic-free, or otherwise tailored to buyers’ specifications. Reports have it that the united states industry is concentrated, about 20% of farms account for about 95% of sales.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
- Kibbutz Lahav, Israel
- Wim Delvoye’s Beijing “Art Farm”
- Pig Paradise Farm
- Diving Pigs, China
- Pig Peace Sanctuary, USA
- China’s Real “Happy Farm”
Reports had it that increase in demand for pork products globally has resulted in the construction of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and waste lagoons as means of industrializing production. People love pigs, and pigs create waste.
An increase in global demand for pork products has driven a trend of concentration and industrialization in hog production worldwide, creating pockets of densely packed pig farms.
It has been confirmed that one hog can produce as much as four to eight times the faeces of a human being. The combination of these factors leads to an environmental and human health crisis that now plagues many rural communities.
To reduce this trend, farmers specialize in only one phase of production rather than the whole process. For instance, a farm may focus on breeding, or raising the piglets up to a moderate weight (40 lbs in the U.S.), or ‘finishing’ which is when the animals are fattened to prepare for slaughter.
Also reports has it that the industry is dominated now by ‘contract agriculture’ – a model of production where a large corporation forms contracts with individual farmers to complete their single step in the production process according to exact standards.
Have it in mind that the company owns the animals, not the farmer, and provides the exact type of feed and inputs (such as antibiotics or hormones), and also determines what housing conditions the animals should have. The farmers themselves do not have much control over the standards of operation on their farm if they wish to keep their contract. Also independent farmers, largely as a result of consolidation in the industry, have almost disappeared as they have been forced out of business or bought out.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
We strongly believe that buying a franchise is far better than starting from the scratch in the pig farm business. Spurred on by dreams of a future big money buyout and an undeniable entrepreneurial impulse, a lot of would-be pig farm business owners are driven to pursue start-up strategies.
Have it in mind that a healthier and safer strategy may be to buy an existing pig farm business. Existing pig farm businesses are proven operations with dependable revenue streams.
And that’s not to mention the fact that a purchase lets you avoid the trial-and-error mistakes that are common in start-ups. Going with a franchise lets you take advantage of the franchisor’s knowledge of the industry and a tested system for operating the business
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
Reports has it that the global human population will grow to 9 billion by 2050, and it is estimated that the world will have to produce about 60 to 70 percent more food in the next 35 years, while the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) states that the world will need 20 percent more food by 2022. The same report also has it that animal protein production will grow at least 3 times by 2050, and meats (poultry, pig, and beef) will double while fish production will be multiplied by almost 10 times.
We believe that the major challenge will be to produce sustainable food and, of course, sustainable feed to raise our animals, with limited availability of resources and with the need to reduce pressure on the environment. Here are few challenges of Starting a pig farm business
- Choosing a suitable location diseases
- Industry knowledge
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
Deciding on a legal entity for your pig farm can feel overwhelming. But for the sake of this article, the LLC is the best legal entity for a pig farm business. Have it in mind that the costs and efforts to set up an LLC are relatively minor and provide a level of protection to your personal assets that a sole proprietorship does not.
New businesses should think forward and anticipate growth and its complications. Plan for success. Also note that LLC provides the liability protection for your pig farm with the tax structure of a partnership, while providing operational flexibility.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
- Healthy pig
- Tasty pork
- Red Road pigs
- Rusty ranch
- Busted wagon pigs
- Winter holts
- Mainstream pigs
- Concord pig farm
- Dow pig
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
If you plan to run a successful pig farm, you should understand that insurance is part of doing business, and you should have a variety of insurances in place to take care of injuries and mishaps. These Insurances may include;
- General Liability
- Property Insurance- Including Buildings/Equipment/Stock/Inventory
- Homeowners insurance
- Farm Owners insurance
- Automobile insurance
- Worker’s Compensation insurance
- Life Insurance
- Public liability insurance
- Income protection/personal accident cover
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
A lot of people would question or doubt that piggery needs intellectual property protection. Intellectual Property rights which include patents, trademarks, trade secrets and copyrights–even the right URLs–, goes a long way in monetizing innovation. When you make it easy for others to steal your ideas, you can simply end up washing away your own path to success.
Some generations back, farming or agriculture generally was an empirical science based on trial and error. But the advent of technology and modernization has pushed the industry into using sophisticated science and technology, including cell biology, genome and proteome research, gene mapping, marker-assisted breeding and hybridization. Intellectual property protection is needed in the pig farm business to protect patents and new ideas, registered and unregistered trademarks, copyright, and trade secrets.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
First and foremost, you need to understand that professional certification or qualification is a distinction an individual can earn that credits them with a high level of skill or expertise in some area. Have it in mind that certification can serve as an indicator of professionalism and aptitude.
Certifications are often regulated by a professional organization. Indeed this industry has no known certification, but you can get other certifications to help boost your credibility. Few professional certifications needed for a pig farm business are;
- Animal Husbandry certification
- Professional Swine Managers and Certified Swine Managers
- Farm management certification
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
To be a savvy entrepreneur, you have to understand that documents play a crucial role in protecting the interests of the business and business owners over the course of a farm’s lifetime. Indeed every business has legal documents needed to run its day to day activities. You don’t jump into a business without putting together everything. Here is a list of documents needed to run a pig farm business;
- Operating Agreement for LLCs.
- Business license
- Drivers insurance
- Employment agreement
- Business plan
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
We agree that most pig farms are family owned, but the demand of pork and technology is now changing the industry into a more competitive ground. The key difference between large companies and small companies in this business is funding. Ways of financing a pig farm may include;
- Family loans
- Community schemes
- Peer-to-peer loans
- Micro loans and grants
- angel investors
- Cash advances
- Bank overdrafts
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Growing a pig close to the house is not advisable, as the smell might make it unbearable to live close to it. Another thing is that the noise will be pretty disturbing to houses around it. This is why instead of causing unnecessary disturbances to your household and neighbours, you can look for a farmland that is away from the neighbourhood. Also, know that you can buy or hire the farmland according to the space needed for rearing, feeding and grazing.
We believe that the basic infrastructure rests on how many pigs you want to keep. The design should ideally allow for adding further pens as your operation grows. Also have it in mind that your cash turnover cycle in this business will also be quicker, as you will not need to feed a sow for four months while it is pregnant, manage the birth process, and then feed the piglets until selling them.
We suggest you consider the economics. Is it worth your while to feed the sow for so many months, or should you let another farmer do this for you, leaving you only the task of growing the weaners out to ‘porker’ or ‘baconer’ size? If you start with six weaners (a practical number), one holding enclosure is fine but two are better in case you need to separate weaker feeders from greedy or aggressive ones, a common problem in pig farming.
We believe that pig shelters can be built in several ways, with some designs being more solid than others. You can also use the structure of an existing outbuilding, adding internal compartments as needed. From our detailed research, brick and mortar construction is strong but expensive, and the layout cannot easily be changed at a later stage.
We advise you make use of medium-heavy steel gates to form enclosures around the sleeping areas as this is cheaper than building walls. Note that you can have some made-to-purpose, or use sheep gates. We suggest you use a wire or heavy duty cable ties, link the gates to one another to create a firm structure. You can at any time change the arrangement/size of the enclosures.
Try as much as possible to avoid using net or other types of fencing. A pig is a strong animal and may start biting or forcing its nose through such a fence, eventually creating an escape route. You may have to cover a gate with some form of netting when housing young weaners, which can escape through the bars.
Details for Enclosed Sleeping Structures
- Each pig needs about 4m² of pen space (including the sleeping area, about one-third of the pen).
- The total pen area for six pigs should be about 24m² (4m x 6m).
- Your gates ideally should be 2m long, with no gaps wider than 15cm between the bars.
- Concrete or paved surfaces are easier to clean. Otherwise site the pens on slightly sloping ground for water run-off when it rains. A permanently muddy surface with puddles of water promotes disease.
- Note that the enclosure needs a feeding trough long enough to provide each feeding pig standing space. The trough can be built from brick and mortar (about 60cm wide and 30cm above ground level) along one of the boundaries. A long concrete sheep drinking trough is also a good pig feeding trough. It is portable and easy to clean.
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
After choosing a suitable location, you will have to get the necessary equipment that will be used in the pig farm. Some of them are the feeding trough for putting their food, drinkers for putting their drinking water, brooders and heat lamb, swine scrappers and other accessories. Things you will need to get may include;
Buy the piglet
First you have to get the piglets into your farm. The piglets can be gotten from an existing pig farm close to you. You’ll need both male and female pigs for the farm. Have it in mind when buying them that you should be able to clarify the following by asking and knowing:
- The vaccination history of the pig
- The parent breed of the piglets
- The environment of piglets
This is very important because you have to know and understand the health of the pig and the expected growth size. The number of the piglets will be determined by the size of the pig pen. Taking the space of the pig pen into consideration, you can start a number suitable for the pig pen.
When the space for the pig pen is enough for the pigs, the growth of the pig will be pretty fast. Also note that the price of the piglets will rest on your business location. But that’ll be determined by the demand of the product in the market.
Also have it in mind that the workforce you will need will depend on the size of your farm. For 100 pigs you’ll need 4-5 workers. If you’re just starting, hiring 1-2 helpers will help you in clearing the drainage, changing the water and making the environment hygienic always.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
We strongly suggest you get the purebred stock from an acknowledged breeder that has quality purebred stock, which is greatly helpful for your advertising and marketing. Then after the first 4-6 weeks, you have to carefully keep new pigs away from predators by placing them in a stall or safe quarters, which will also help you keep a close eye on your pigs to observe their performance.
We believe that wood shaving would be the best choice for pig bedding, and the living environment for pigs should be all natural and chemical free. After the 4-6 weeks, your pigs should be ready to be moved to their new home for the next 3 months before they are ready for the market.
We believe that it’s good to start construction during the first 4-6 weeks, and pigs can be fenced in many different ways. These are three most popular fencing for pigs.
- Perimeter fencing with hog-wire is the cheapest way to go especially for large areas.
- Hog wire roll fencing with metal T post and wood post for bracing corners and long spans is a little more expensive.
- Hog panels with metal T post for support is the most expensive way to go, but it is also the easiest way to install and virtually maintenance free.
For outdoor shelter, it is always better to use the natural environment for shade and protection. A wooden area is good to choose, but if you have no wooden area, you have to build or purchase one. We suggest you ensure that you have adequate and constant supply of fresh water, because pigs need a lot of water.
Always put the young pigs on a free choice diet, but do not feed them with more than 20% protein because it can cause scours which is dangerous for baby pigs. Research had shown that you can give your pigs drugs every 6 months to kill internal worms and external parasites; or you can use some organic worm products.
Note that pigs should be reaching 200-250 lbs. after about 6 months and they are now ready for breeding. Pig gestation period lasts about 114 days and it is important that you log the breeding days so that you will have some ideas of when the new piglets will arrive.
Your sows will need to be separated from the other pigs into her own separate living area and put on a 18% 12 lbs. to 15 lbs. diet, approximately one month before giving birth. Also note that new born piglets have to be given good nursery and after 8-10 weeks, piglets should be separated from the sow to wean before being raised to market weight.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
Have it in mind that your marketing plan will decide if you send live, full-weight pigs to an auction or slaughter or sell pork directly to consumers. We suggest you check both live hog and carcass prices at sites. If you plan to send pigs out for slaughter, research processing plants, making sure the one you select is a Department of Agriculture inspected or State inspected facility.
We also advice that you study USDA regulations and tour each processing plant you’re considering before making a final decision. Inspect both the stockyard and processing facility at each processing plant. It is very good to start marketing your pigs before the due date you intend to sell. You can approach meat sellers or use it to create bacon and sausages and sell. The price of the pig will depend on the size of the pig as it’s sold per kilogram. Other ways may include;
Leverage Farmers’ Markets
Farmers’ markets most times include far more than vegetables, including freshly baked breads, handmade items, and other assorted goodies. Your pig’s can be the perfect addition to a farmers’ market, as well as a wonderful opportunity to introduce your products to local consumers.
Making use of the Internet to Drive Sales
If sitting outside in all kinds of inclement weather just doesn’t appeal to you, then you can rejoice in the fact that there are still other ways to market and promote your pig farm without ever stepping out your front door. In today’s interconnected world of the Internet and social media, you can reach customers, promote your products, and make sales, all with the click of some buttons and a little ingenuity.
17. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
Building a pig farm can sound deceptively simple, but in fact pig farming is a form of animal husbandry that involves taking care of a heavy and dirty animal. It is a labour oriented business and to win your competitors you need to consider the following
- Stay innovative and creating new ideas
- Establishing a customer-centric culture
- Don’t compete on price but on quality
- Remember that saturation can mean strength
18. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
Even if you give the best services in the world, if your prospective customers don’t know about it, it is of no use. You have to create brand awareness for your product. Ways to boost your brand awareness and create a corporate identity in pig farming business may include;
- Leverage the web
- Build a breathtaking social presence
- Make use of traditional advertising methods