Free-range Pork a Success for New South Wales Young Farmer

AUSTRALIA - A young couple from New South Wales is successfully marketing pork from their free-range Berkshire pigs directly to local consumers.
calendar icon 24 November 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

Young Dubbo farmers are successfully direct-marketing free range pork to their local community in New South Wales, reports

"We wanted to be young farmers and have a profitable farm, so we decided to go with direct marketing."

Standing in a paddock with Berkshire sows following her every move, Eumungerie central west New South Wales farmer, Alex Hicks says she is delighted with the progress of her farming enterprise.

When Alex and her husband Michael [pictured above; image from] were considering which strand of livestock production to get into, her lifelong affection for pigs made the choice quite easy.

Their plan has been to run pigs in as natural environment as possible, growing them out and fattening them up before having them slaughtered at a regional abattoir and then marketing the meat themselves.

In the couple of months they've been operational, Alex and Michael Hicks have built up a core herd of breeding sows and are developing a local clientele in and around Dubbo.

"That's as far afield as we want to go," says Michael Hicks.

"We don't want to be marketing any further, we want to be selling locally," she said. "So we're selling through the local farmer's markets and also to local buyers through our web site."

The pigs spend their days, and nights, pottering around sections of the Hick's small farm, they're constrained to sectors of the farm by strips of electric fence which are regularly moved to give them access to fresh pasture.

And, like the pigs themselves, their infrastructure is portable as well.

The pigs need water supplies, both for drinking and for wallowing and they need shelter.

So, each time the pig's boundaries are moved, the water troughs and shelter sheds need to move as well, and that has resulted in some innovation in design.

Recycling, re-purposing and reusing are watchwords at Extraordinary Pork, and the Hicks say their favourite shopping ground is the local recycling 'tip shop' in Dubbo.

It is there that they found the 1,000-litre tanks they have cut down to make piggy swimming pools and the source of the bicycles and decommissioned wheelchairs that were stripped down to provide the wheels for movement around the farm.

Alex told that the resulting infrastructure is not plush or glamorous but it's serviceable and it recycles discarded items.

"And it keeps the costs down," she added.

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