The breeding process begins by identifying the gilt or sow in heat. A key catalyst for the process is the presence of a boar to assure the female is receptive. Once the female cycle is affirmed, a care giver inserts a catheter and insemination occurs. 28 days after insemination, a caregiver will conduct pregnancy checks using an ultrasound machine.
From the breeding line, sows are kept in groups or individual pens. Sows are fitted with ear tags that allow individual access to the Electronic Sow Feeder. The data generated from these tags allow care givers to check on individual sows if notice a drop in feed consumption. When kept in individual pens, gestation follows a similar process. Feed and water intake are monitored as caregivers ensure the animals are well cared for throughout the pregnancy.
Martin Family Farms owns and operates sow farms which are the initial stage and heart of the production system. The sow farm function is to produce healthy and hearty piglets to populate the finishing stage for growout. The critical initial step of sow farm operations is in the breeding process. The team utilizes artificial insemination to breed the gilts and sows. Once the sow begins farrowing, the team attends to the mothers and litters. At this stage, piglets are vaccinated, castrated, and tail docked. When the piglets are 21 days of age they are weaned from their mothers and shipped to a finishing farm. After the piglets are weaned, the sow then moved back to the breeding barn to repeat the production cycle.
Finishing Farms are facilities specifically designed to care for piglets from the time they are approximately 1 month old until they reach the pigs reach 6 months of age. Here the pigs are provided with ample food and crucial medical care to ensure health for the pig and quality for the consumer. Once the pigs reach market weight, they are transported to the next step of the process, Packing Facilities.
Once our pigs reach 280 to 300 pounds (live weight) they are shipped to our partner Packing Facilities, such as Clemens Foods Group. Martin Family Farms markets animals to Clemens via a long term agreement. The packing facility function in the food chain is to harvest and preparation of the numerous pork products for distribution to the myriad of worldwide consumers. Processing of the pig begins with separation into primal cuts which are ham, loin, belly, and shoulder. From primal cuts further processing involves the creation of thousands of different product options. Once our partners have prepared the product, our process ends in finally reaching our consumers.