The Hagenbuch family celebrate the opening of their 2,400 head hog barn with a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house on Oct. 25, sponsored by the Illinois Pork Producers Association. Cutting the ribbon are, left to right, Bella, Mae and Kate Hagenbuch, while John Hagenbuch, holding son Nolan, looks on. (Photo contributed)
John and Kate Hagenbuch and their family celebrated the opening of their two new 2,400 head grow-to-finish swine barns east of Triumph by hosting an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony this past October.
The couple currently owns and operates a 75-sow farrow-to-finish hog farm in addition to raising corn and soybeans.
They are also the Illinois representatives for the American Soybean Association/DuPont Young Leaders 2011 class that represented 26 states.
"The leadership training was a good experience for both of us," stated Kate.
Through their leadership training, John, who now focuses on soybean producers, and Kate, who now focuses on pork producers, had the opportunity to go to Washington DC this past July as part of the American Soybean Legislative Forum. Their goal is driving agriculture as an industry leader.
"Leadership training has shown me that succeeding in agriculture is an attainable goal and a global responsibility," said Kate in the Summer 2011 issue of Illinois Soybean Review.
John and Kate also keep busy with their three children - Bella - 5 years old, Mae - 3 years old and Nolan - 2 years old.
A Chicago suburban native, Kate has come to appreciate the country life.
She added, "Living on the farm is important for my children's legacy. I want the farm to be here so they have that option if that is what they want."
Not only does John work on the farm, he is employed at Grainco FS in Mendota as a specialist selling precision agriculture equipment and as a seasonal spraying operator.
But, it is their leadership training that helped guide their decisions about their future in agriculture.
"As a young farm family, pork production has allowed us to remain viable in agriculture and remain in this community," said Kate. "My husband, John, is a third-generation family farmer. We've wanted to expand for some time, and recently decided the time is right. We decided to build the two 2,400 head grow-to-finish barns to provide us an opportunity to further diversify our farm and remain more competitive in the challenging global marketplace."
Involved in a small hog operation for the past 15 years, the new expansion will continue to utilize John's swine management degree from Joliet Junior College.
The Hagenbuchs new grow-to-finish barns will each house 2,400 head of pigs. Pigs will enter the buildings weighing 50 pounds, where they will be housed until they reach market weight of 275 pounds.
The Hagenbuchs' focus remains on agricultural advocacy. "This building project is simply an expansion of our commitment to the safe and humane production of hogs," said Kate.
"The hog barns have many technologically advanced features that increase the efficiencies of raising the pigs, but will also improve the welfare of the pigs," she added.
The Open House and Ribbon Cutting was sponsored by the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA), the Pork Checkoff, Illini Swine, JBS United, and 1st Farm Credit Services.
"IPPA helped to sponsor the open house to celebrate and highlight the role of Illinois pork producers as stewards of their community and the environment, as well as an important contributor to the local and state economy," said Tim Maiers, IPPA Director of Industry and Public Relations.
The pork industry is very important to our state's economy. According to a study conducted by Peter Goldsmith, associate professor of Agribusiness Management at the University of Illinois, the Illinois pork industry contributes $1 billion in direct impact and$1.8 billion and 10,533 jobs of total impact to the State's economy in addition to providing $170 million in total taxes. The pork industry is also important to Illinois agriculture as it consumes over 69 million bushels of corn and 22.5 million bushels of soybeans each year.
The new hog farm will bring additional economic activity to the local economy, said Kate. They will also be adding additional tax revenue to the county, of which a large portion will go to the Mendota school districts.
More than 250 neighbors, rural residents, and local community residents attended the open house and enjoyed a tour of the new hog buildings.
"The dedication of Illinois pork producers to do what's right, combined with their innovative spirit to adopt new approaches, has helped them chart a path to success even as the industry has changed," said Maiers. "The Hagenbuchs represent the many Illinois pork producing families committed to proper care of their animals and the environment through proper management of their farms. This commitment helps ensure safe and affordable pork as well as strong rural communities throughout Illinois."