Looking for Heritage Hogs? Buyer Beware!

The popularity of heritage (or traditional) breed hogs has skyrocketed in recent years, largely due to numerous chefs discovering the fabulous flavor of how pork is supposed to taste. There is nothing like the flavor of old-fashioned hogs raised on pasture or range and in a natural environment. Popularity, however, can be a challenge for a rare breed—especially when some people are tempted by quick profits and high returns. When advising newcomers about how to get involved with heritage hogs, we always stress three key points that can make or break success. First, know what you are buying; second, not every animal is breeding quality; and third, make sure your investment in breeding stock is registered. Know What You Are Buying Unfortunately, when it comes to heritage breeds, some folks are out to make a quick buck from buyers who don’t have a complete understanding of how the pigs should look and how they should perform. Part of the reason that the flavor of these animals is so intense is due to slower growth. For producers, this can translate into higher feed costs to get them to market. As a result, some have chosen to introduce commercial genetics into their herds to improve growth rates and produce leaner, larger carcasses in a shorter period of time. The downside to this is these pigs are then sold at high prices to unsuspecting buyers as purebred pigs. [caption id

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