Walter Jeffries of Sugar Mountain Farm on Raising Pastured Pork

Raising Pastured Pork is Walter Jeffries specialty and today he talks about how he raises them on the Agricultural Insights Podcast

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Pastured PorkJoin me today for an interview with Walter Jeffries of Sugar Mountain Farm. Walter raises pastured pork on his sloped farm in Vermont. He has years of experience raising pigs and today we talk about genetics, grazing, forage selection, planting techniques, fencing options and advice for people who want to try raising pastured pork. Thank you Walter for taking the time to do this interview! Today we cover: Pastured Pork Fencing How to Raise Pastured Pork AKA Grass-fed Pork

More info on Walter and Pastured Pork:

Walter’s farm: Sugar Mountain Farm which produces Pastured Pork

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About Sugar Mountain Farm: We are a small, family owned and operated farm in the mountains of Vermont. We breed and raise pigs all naturally on pasture and hay plus dairy to produce our high quality pork, roasters for events and live piglets for people who would like to raise their own. Holly delivers year round on our weekly delivery route to stores, restaurants and individuals. We have about four hundred pigs in two breeding herds of pigs with approximately forty to sixty sows and three boars. Our pigs are a cross of several heritage breeds – predominantly Yorkshire x Berkshire x Large Black with some Tamworth, Glouster Old Spot and Hampshire. Good Old American Pigs. We have been selectively breeding them for over a dozen pig generations between our herds. For a while we had a purebred Tamworth boar and currently we have a purebred Berkshire boar in one of our herds. With each generation we breed the best of the best and eat the rest. Gradually over time this results in the improvement of the herd, stronger animals adapted to our climate, better meat flavor, marbling, length, temperament, mother and pasture grazing ability to name a few of the traits we select for.

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  • Great podcast. I will need to listen to it a couple of times I think to get everything I need out of it. I have a question on the pallet fencing… I did not quite understand how he did it… Was it just bolted end to end? Could you use bolts and wing nuts to make it moveable?

    Thanks.

  • Dean Collins

    great podcast. really interesting to hear how reliant he is on “waste” from other facilities eg butter/whey and beer/barley.

    • Thanks for stopping by Dean I think Walter is a really smart guy. It was great to have him on the show and I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    • Hi Dean,

      Reliant isn’t the right word – we can function quite well without these extra inputs and have had years of raising on pasture with just the vegetables and fruits from our own farm for supplementing. However, there is a great deal of ‘waste’ that is really good food for livestock and well worth gathering. The supplements make it so that the pigs grow about two months faster than they do on pasture alone. For more about our pig’s diet and breed check out this page:

      http://SugarMtnFarm.com/pigs

      Cheers,

      -Walter

      • Thanks for the great followup comments Walter, they are much appreciated!

    • bruceki

      Dean, I offered Walter $10,000 to raise 4 pigs per his specs on pasture alone. he declined. He makes this claim repeatedly, but even when offered $10,000 to prove it he declines. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether you believe this claim.

      You’re absolutely right to notice that thousands of gallons of whey, butter, cheese and milk are an input into Mr. Jefferies operation, and I think they are indespensible to it. he couldn’t raise pigs commerically without it, in my opinion.

      You’ll find the original blog entry here: http://ebeyfarm.blogspot.com/2009/11/10000-sugar-mountain-farm-challenge.html

  • Lisa

    Wow! This was a very informative podcast. I gleaned so much from it and will definitely listen to it again. Great questions as well.

    • Lisa I’m glad you enjoyed the podcast, Walter is a very smart guy, we are lucky that he gave us some of his time for the interview. Good seeing you around, take care.

  • Josh

    Thanks Walter and Chris!

    I really enjoyed this and I hope you have Walter back on to talk about other aspects of his farm!

    • Josh,

      Thank you for the kind words I’m glad you enjoyed it! Walter is awesome.

  • Mike

    I enjoyed this immensely. I’ve seen “pastured pork” raised mostly on gmo grain and was turned off by what I saw. This sounds much more humane and healthy for the animals and people working with them.

    • Mike,

      Thanks for stopping by. Walter is really ahead of the game when it comes to raising pastured pork, WAY ahead.