Its her fault...Thats my story and I am sticking to it.
I look out on the fields of our farm and I see these rather odd pigs quietly grazing and sleeping. And everywhere I look it seems like I see them.This is way more pigs than any plan I had originally for our little farm. Its my wifes fault.
You see about 3 years ago she shows me this webpage on Chinese Meishan pigs. Now understand we had pigs at the time (too many to her thinking/liking). I was in the middle of building an American Guinea Hog herd that I had traveled to 7 different states to assemble. It was a nice little hog but my wife was concerned about their impact on our land. Because regardless of what some might say they do root(though much less than traditional commercial breeds). We had tried Gloucester Old Spots but after the piglets we brought in confirmed beyond a shadow of doubt that there was no secret deposits of oil on the property(as deep as they dug we would have hit a gusher by now) they moved quickly to the freezer. We dabbled with some Kune Kune and found whatever their differences to AGH a personality devoid of rooting wasnt one of them.
So here comes my wife with this info on a wrinkly faced hyper productive pig from China. So I began to investigate. For about 8 months it was the usual web pages and Facebook groups.And the more I looked the more intrigued I was. The Facebook groups would have scared most folks off however.At the time there was a running feud between two or three breeders.And I dont mean your usual FB spat this was more like a lifetime movie script with pages and the "truth about" pages.It got pretty ugly.
But the more I read about the pig the more I saw the same things I liked about my AGH but with larger size,faster growth, larger litters and if you were to believe the write ups even a more docile nature. So I contacted the two most polarized breeders to discuss the breed.I talked to the Hatfields and then I talked to the McCoys.
But I needed at least another boar and another gilt would be great.Our farm model was always about enough genetic diversity to sell breeding pairs.So the search began in earnest.I found another breeder but honestly nobody seemed to know or was willing to tell where their stock came from. I had learned from my AGH that you could end up with liter mates even if you got pigs from two wildly separated states. So I sent the e-mails out. I sent e-mails to USDA Scientists . I sent e-mails to Iowa State. I sent e-mails to Illinois. Basically if you were remotely associated with the original study you got an e-mail from me. The responses ? It was the sounds of crickets,nothing,nada,zilch.
So here we are three road trips,4,595 actual driving miles and seven travel days later. I look out on the fields of our farm and I see these rather odd pigs quietly grazing and sleeping. And everywhere I look it seems like I see them. And now you can see them here
Its her fault .Thats my story and I am sticking to it.
May the Lord bless you and yours
Post script.Though I doubt they will ever read this I want to thank the people who were instrumental in this journey.People who have helped and are helping us peel back the "onion" that is the Meishan story.People who put up with that annoyingly persistent small farmer from Tennessee. In order of contact:
- Steven Moeller Department of Animal Sciences Ohio State University
- Dr. Steven Loerch Head of the Department of Animal Sciences University of Illinois
- Jonathan Forrest Mosely Swine Herd Manager University of Illinois
- Jeffrey Valet Geneticist USDA US Meat Animal Research Center Clay Center NE.
- Dr E John Pollak Facility Director USDA US Meat Animal Research Center Clay Center NE
- Troy McCain Swine Herd Manager USDA US Meat Animal Research Center Clay Center NE
- Gary Rohrer Swine Geneticist USDA US Meat Animal Research Center Clay Center NE
- Dr Max Rothschild Department of Animal Sciences Iowa State University
- Harvey Blackburn Senior Animal Geneticist USDA Genetic Resource Preservation Sevice Fort Collins CO.