Rural Missouri - October 2021 - 19
photos on this page courtesy Vince and Holly Crawford
Left: These pigs are bound for Niman Ranch. Hogs here live on straw or are pastured until ready to ship.
Above: The Borrowman family includes, from left, David, Twyla, Parker and Christy. Right: Bees love the
pollinator plots David has introduced in an area that was previously highly erodible row crop land.
pollinators. His pay is a gallon jug of honey.
The on-farm pork sales are only possible because of
Paradise Locker, a USDA-inspected plant located nearby in
Trimble. Here he can get custom cuts of pork not available
in most groceries, including the Country Rib Roast. " It's
the first four pork chops essentially, " David says. " Paradise
will leave those there in a small roast so you get about a
3-pound roast that has four baby back ribs attached to the
side. You cook that slow and it just melts in your mouth.
" We love those community relationships, " he adds.
" That's how I like to keep it. As local as we can. "
Niche is the name of the game at Pastvina Acres Farm.
It's small-scale farming, but on a big scale.
" The beauty of small scale is the margins, " David says.
" You want to value add as much as you can. Our goal with
value added is to have enough pigs that we take every
bushel of commodity corn off the farm and put it to a pig
instead of taking it to town. "
In the seven years since David and his family - which
includes wife, Christy, son, Parker, and daughter, Twyla -
bought 80 acres of land in the rolling hills west of Smithville
the farm has come close to achieving the plan hatched
in part while the couple was living in the Czech Republic.
" What we saw over there was the appreciation for wellmade
food and knowing where it came from. That kind of
got us thinking maybe we could do something like that. "
After three years David and Christy returned to Missouri.
Both grew up on farms and the tug to return to the
land was strong. Initially David considered raising grassfed
beef. " But I checked the Kansas City Craigslist and
found about seven listings for grassfed cattle and none for
pasture pork, " says David. " I knew pigs better than cattle.
I thought, 'well I could buy some calves and in a year and
a half have some, or I could buy some pigs and in five
months have something to sell.' So we decided to do pigs. "
He started with 15 Berkshire hogs, a heritage breed
known for its dark and tasty meat, and began selling pork
direct-to-consumer on the farm and at the local farmers
market. After a year that saw one litter born when it was
17 degrees and another arriving when the temperature hit
96, he decided maybe farrowing wasn't the way to go.
Undaunted, he began buying pigs from a neighbor. And
then the final piece in the patchwork quilt that is Pastvina
Acres (Czech for pasture) fell into place. " I thought we can
do a little more with the pigs, " David says. " But when you
are selling all your own, it's not like you can scale up from
15 to 50 all of a sudden. Because you've got to have buyers
for all that. "
David joined Niman Ranch, a Colorado-based network
of 720 small, independent livestock producers. " Niman has
been a really good program for us, " he says. " They were the
last piece of the puzzle to figure out how to farm full time.
We own the pigs, but we tell them how many we are going
to sell to them, within a date range. Their pricing is really
transparent. It's based on what corn and soymeal prices
are. So you are pretty much guaranteed a profit over your
feed costs for sure. "
The partnership quickly paid off, David says. " The first
two years the price we got paid for our pigs ranged from
about 95 cents to a dollar a pound. The hog market at that
time probably ranged from 35 cents to 95 cents. "
David - the only one of four brothers still farming -
hopes others can follow the path he's taken. " What we are
really trying to do is get this dialed in and have a model
that other people can follow. Because I don't see how a
young guy or girl can come out of college or high school
and decide they want to farm and start at a thousand
acres. The nice thing about Niman is that's 100% what
they want to do - getting people back in rural America,
keeping generations on the farm. "
You can contact Pastvina Acres Farm at 816-605-0735 or
find them on Facebook. To learn more about Niman Ranch,
OCTOBER 2021 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP 19
Rural Missouri - October 2021
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - October 2021
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Rural Missouri - October 2021 - Contents
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