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Premium Niman hogs have their day in the sun

by 5m Editor
3 November 2006, at 12:06pm

US - When the sun came out last week, hogs on the Flaherty farm basked in it. "If they can be out of the wind and in the sun, it's perfect for them," said Travis Flaherty, who with his wife, Debbie, raises hogs and alfalfa on their central Iowa farm.

The Flahertys raise pigs the old-fashioned way, in the elements instead of in confinements. Their way is increasingly in demand, even from chain stores like Wal-Mart and fast-food restaurants like Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Like hundreds of other farmers in a dozen states, including Iowa, the Flahertys raise hogs for Niman Ranch Pork. Niman pork farmers shun antibiotics, feed their hogs high-quality feed and let them be, well, pigs, giving them space to wallow in mud, dig in dirt and move around freely.

Typically, the hogs carry more fat than those raised in confinement, which helps protect them from extreme weather conditions and adds flavor to their meat, said Paul Willis, a Thornton farmer who founded and runs the company.

"They're not this extreme lean animal that has been adopted by the mainstream pork industry," he said.

Source: Des Moines Register

5m Editor