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An Ode to Swine

An Ode to Swine

The pig’s role on a regenerative farm

Pigs are known on the farm for their physical power and voracious appetite for just about anything. For those reasons, they are the tyrants in Orwell’s Animal Farm and powerful tools in the hands of the regenerative farmer.

A farmer is only as good as his land is fertile. The regenerative farmer isolates natural processes, concentrates them, and uses them as tools to increase the fertility of his land. His livestock and land rely on each other for good health, and he is their steward.

Swine are excellent land clearers. In the process of rooting around for a variety of feed, they bulldoze thickets and return them from whence they came. Grueling work for man, but nature to a pig. Their digestive systems turn matter that is biologically unavailable to plants into fertilizer. You could wait a year for decomposition or your hogs could do it in a couple of weeks. All the while, their cloven feet till the hog-made fertilizer and leaf litter into the land, enriching it further. Pigs feet are superior to mechanical tilling because they don’t delve deep enough to disturb established fungal networks or release valuable gasses beneath. Now your farmer has better dirt and more space; the stage is set for better growth. Throw grass seed down, let the pigs walk it into the ground for a day, let it grow, then bring the swine back to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Refertilize. Reseed. Cyclical.

A pig is as useful as a farmer is resourceful. Pen them in around a leaky pond for enough time and they will plug the leak by packing the earth. Throw feed around a stump and they will tear it out of the ground. Lace your compost pile with corn and they will turn it over for you when the time comes.

If only we could wrangle our would-be-despots and use them to enrich the country, which begs the question: what is a tyrant’s role in a well functioning society?

Pigs and information on regenerative farming provided by Fairfax Farms