A breed called the ‘Blue But’ hog a type that is raised on Ward Hog Farm
Two hogs feeding in the field at Ward Hog Farm
By Portia Williams
MINFORD — Ward Farms/Large Black Hogs, located at 2027A Mount Carmel Rd. in Minford, is a family-owned business that raises and sells pastured grain fed large black hogs and other hog breeds. Co-owners Devin and Staci Ward work hard on their farm to provide quality products that people can have confidence in.
“We started working with pigs about three years ago. My wife grew up working with pigs in the 4H Clubs, and things like that. I was looking to get into pigs because there are not too many people around here that has farms,” Devin said. “Another thing got me into it is, I like to eat pork a lot myself.”
He said he and his wife primarily operate the business together.
“It is mainly me and wife, and we have children, so she raises them. My dad helps out on the farm a lot too,” he said.
He said pigs have some very amicable characteristics.
“I have always liked working with animals, and as far as the pig, it is amazing how smart they are. When I started getting them I realized that I really liked working with them, so I just kept expanding my operation here,”he said. “I love their personalities, you can almost teach them tricks, as crazy as that seems.
Contrary to popular belief, pigs are relatively clean animals.
“They are a very clean animal. Most people usually think of a hog as a nasty animal that lays around and just rolls around in the mud, but they are extremely intelligent,” he said. “The only reason that they lay around in the mud is because they don’t sweat, so that’s the only way that they can keep cool. If they had air conditioning they would be as clean as they could be. They’ve got one spot that they do all of their business in, and the rest is where they eat and lay around.”
Their goal is to provide hogs for their customers that create a great source of pork to enjoy.
“What we are doing right now is raising hogs that are what you want to put on your dinner plate as in, you want the length of your hog which gives you a big slab of bacon, and the pulp for the nice size hams,” he said. “Our goal is to sell Berkshires year round and piglets as well, that is why we raise them ourselves. What we are perfecting right now is the Berkshire, but we have Large Black hogs as well, which is an old heritage hog.”
He said the Large Black hog is a breed that is becoming increasingly extinct.
“They are the type of hogs that they brought over on the Mayflower when they founded our country,” he said.
Wards Hog Farm typically keeps 40 hogs at a time on their farm.
“Normally what we do, is people will come out to our farm, they’ll load up the pigs and take them to the butcher of their choice, or if they are looking for a piglet they will come out and get those too and take them to their place to raise them,” he said. “We don’t do the butchering here, although I would like to one day, if it works out.”
He said their goal is to feed pigs naturally, with the absence of antibiotics and steroids.
“Our goal is to feed hogs as naturally as possible in the best of conditions. No antibiotics, no steroids that have to be given,” he said. “We like to do things the old fashion way, and be completely honest with people about what they are buying. If I give a pig a shot, you’re going to know about it. I tell you what the pig has been fed, and we feed them very well, so when folks buy pigs from us they are not buying pigs that have been fed a bunch of junk.”
At Wards Hog Farm they strive to provide quality pigs for their customer base.
“We do our very best to take very good care of these pigs, to ensure that people are getting a good product,” he said.“I just sold a hog to a man, and he was more than pleased with it. That is the most important thing, and that is extremely important to us.”
For more information about Wards Hogs/Black Hog Farm, call 740-285-2870 or visit the Wards Hogs/Black Hog Facebook page.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101,ext.1929, or on Twitter@PortiaWillPDT.