“So when the packer, the last packer was Ragland in San Antonio, closed about 15 years ago, that hurt market accessability for the small producer.”
Jodi Sterle is the Texas Agrilife Extension’s swine specialist.
“The other thing here in Texas is that we have 26,000 youth who show show pigs for 4-H or FFA and that is the largest livestock project in the 4-H and FFA system.”
Gerald Schroeder and his brother Albert raise show pigs in Anderson.
“Without the show pig, we couldn’t survive in the hog business. To sell feeder pigs for what they’re going for we couldn’t make it. What we make off our pigs is what we sell for show barrows or show gilts, but if we had to make a living with what the price of feed is, and by doing AI on these sows, artifcial breeding them, ain’t no way we could just sell feeder pigs and stay in business.”
Mr. Schroeder told us a little about what makes a good show pig.
“You want a hog that’s wide through there, plus you want one that’s got some width through his shoulders, a hog with a big top in him, and you want a hog that’s gonna have some ham in him and that ham’s gonna come low to the back part of his hocks.”
And for the animals that don’t make it to the show ring?
“All of our pigs, we keep until they get to a weight of between 70 and 120 pounds, and K&C Processing Plant in Navasota buys them, and we don’t go to the finishing part of the hogs and take them all the way to 260 or 270, what they consider the top hog.”
With several show champions through the years, it looks like the Schroeders have found their niche.