“What we’re trying to do is raise the pigs the right way and develop direct relationships with chefs and butchers,” said Thieriot, CEO of Llano Seco Meats, the branded arm of Rancho Llano Seco. “It’s a lot more work, but for the most part I know every customer by name.”

 

 

‘Everything is about humanity.’ Chico-area farm takes new approach to raising pigs

 

By Leslie Hicks, The Sacramento Bee (CA)

June 29, 2020

 

Factory farms cause ongoing environmental impacts and can create new pandemics. So says hog-farmer Charlie Thieriot, whose Chico-area company is taking a different approach -- staying small, selling locally and using ethical and sustainable practices.

 

“What we’re trying to do is raise the pigs the right way and develop direct relationships with chefs and butchers,” said Thieriot, CEO of Llano Seco Meats, the branded arm of Rancho Llano Seco. “It’s a lot more work, but for the most part I know every customer by name.”

 

His is one of a small number of hog farms in California and it’s a major departure from the industry norm.. Most significantly, it allows its pigs to live outside.

 

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (USDAERS), most large-scale hog operations confine pigs indoors. While that maximizes profits and keeps costs low, it also contributes to a trend toward fewer and larger enterprises concentrated in the Midwest and North Carolina.

 

USDAERS statistics indicate the overall number of farms with hogs nationwide has declined by over 70 percent since 1990 and the “trend toward fewer and larger enterprises has brought environmental issues to the forefront of public policy regarding the hog industry.”

 

The confinements systems also bring problems of water contamination due to hog lagoons and questions of humane treatment not only of animals but also of workers as seen at the Smithfield plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., where one of the largest outbreaks of COVID-19 in a U.S. workplace occurred. Close conditions create stressed animals and put workers at risk for disease.

 

The different approach at Llano Seco is to implement costlier, more sustainable farming systems, then find smaller markets closer to home where customers are willing to pay more than the commodity prices that dictate what large factory farms receive for their products.

 

“We had to change the way we sell pigs,” Thieriot said...

 

more, including links

https://www.sacbee.com/food-drink/article243721627.html