Mr. (Tom) Vilsack (Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture):
I know that you are the secretary of Agriculture and are influential in agricultural committees and programs. My friend, Elzy Cadge over at Calvertville, Indiana, received a check for $1,000 from the government for not raising hogs. So, I want to go into the 'not raising hogs' business next year. What I want to know is, in your opinion, what is the best kind of farm not to raise hogs on and what is the best breed of hogs not to raise? I want to be sure that I approach this endeavor in keeping with all governmental policies.
I would prefer not to raise razorbacks, but if that is not a good breed not to raise, then I will just as gladly not raise Yorkshires, Durocs, Poland China, Chester White hogs and Spotted Poland China if that be preferred. Are they on the good list? As I see it, the hardest part of this program will be in keeping an accurate inventory of how many hogs I haven't raised. I don't have a computer, but I could get one when I get my first check.
Elzy is very happy about the future of the business. He has been raising hogs for over forty years or so and the best he ever made on them was about $422 in 1998, until this year when he got his check. His success in not raising hogs caused me to think about a good deal. If I get $1,000 for not raising 50 hogs, will I get $2,000 for not raising 100 hogs? If so, then my long-range business plan will be different. I plan to operate on a small scale at first, holding myself down to about 4,000 hogs not raised, which will mean about $80,000 the first year. Then I can afford an airplane and maybe I could winter in Arizona.
Now another thing: these hogs I will not raise will not eat 100,000 bushels of corn and wheat. Will I qualify for payments for not raising wheat and corn not to feed the 4,000 hogs I am not going to raise? Another thing to consider is the housing for those hogs. If I don't raise 4,000 hogs then I won't have to build a feedlot and a hog barn to house them and the hog feeders and watering tanks. That could easily cost up to $165,000 in construction costs and labor for such a facility. Still another aspect is the cost of utilities and labor for such a facility. I estimate that to cost an additional $50,000 per year.
Audley Thoke, another friend of mine got a check from the government for not planting corn or soybeans last year. Shoot! I have plenty of low land, hill country and wet land over in the Goose Creek Bottoms near Calvertville that I could not plant in corn or soybeans and get me another check from the government. Please advise.
My website Larryvandeventer.com - Read about me, my books, and my columns. Larry Vandeventer grew up North of Calvertville on a farm and graduated from Worthington High School and Indiana State Univeristy. He can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or 317-839-7656.