CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — During the Great Depression, hogs were known on the farm as mortgage lifters and that’s when the family of George Bruns began raising hogs.

“My Dad raised purebred spotted hogs,” Bruns said. “His first champion was in 1938 at the Illinois State Fair. So we go back at least that far and he was probably raising pigs five years before that so, back to the ‘30s.”

One of the few Illinois families with hogs is that of Alan Kollman of Altamont, who just stepped down as president of the Illinois pork producers.

“We have a 1,000 contract finish barn, and then we also operate a farrow to feeder pig finish building,” Kollmann said. “We have show pig sows, and we finish feeder pigs all the way out to finish.”

You’ve got a lot of balls in the air with all of that. How do you manage that?

“It’s slowly evolved,” Kollmann said. “My wife and I have been married for over 20 years, we’ve got four children, three boys and one girl, and the family is a big part of what we do every day. If we don’t involve our kids, we feel that we have not achieved our goal for the day.”

Joe and Jan Wenke of Monticello have a lot of livestock and three sons to help.

“This summer we had three steers that Joey and Jeremiah were showing,” Wenke said. “Jake had four head of hogs, we still have two here. And Jeremiah also started into sheep and has got a couple market lambs. Plus chickens, dogs, rabbits, all running around. The primary purpose of all of this was to give the boys a little bit of what I had growing up. I grew up with cattle and hogs. Give them a little bit of responsibility of taking care of livestock, kind of seeing what happens with animals, the good and the bad.”

The Adcock family has been growing steadily in the Assumption area since 1918 says Bob Adcock, the senior member of the family.

“I started farming in 1962 started small and raised hogs and cattle and a little farming and then as we acquired more land the farm got bigger, the hogs disappeared, and the cattle stayed,” Adcock said.

That’s how farms change, and the way the farm kids grow up.