LOGAN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Have you ever spent time around pigs?
For these three boys, pigs are their life.
The Olson family has a lengthy history in the Elkhart area.
“My great-grandfather came over from Sweden in the late 1800s and started working for Gillette,” says Farmer John Olson. “They rented him his first farm and we’ve been farming here in Logan county — southern Logan County — since the late 1800s.”
While John Olson oversees crop production, his son, Blane, and other family members manage swine breeding stock for showing and breeding.
“What went from a handful of Duroc sows kind of ran into a business that we ran Olson Farms,” says Blane Olson. “We sell show pigs throughout the country. We sell breeding stock, both sows and boars.”
Their operations are integrated.
“We can’t buy corn any cheaper than we can raise it,” says John Olson, “and the same with fertilizer. If we can turn this manure into fertilizer out in the field, that’s fertilizer we don’t have to buy and its natural fertilizer.
“We want to leave the ground and the environment as good or better for these guys when we leave, when I’m done.”
Hogs take work; so, why do the Olson’s do what they do?
“There’s days we might even think we’re crazy what we do,” says Blane Olson, “but ultimately, it’s who we are.
“It’s not a job. It’s a way of life and it truly is.
“Dad talked about the boys standing behind us. My wife is a part of our operation. Our little girl is sleeping on the couch. Her and Kristi do as much work in this barn as anybody, and it’s a way for us to do it as a family. It’s a lot of fun to watch these guys get to work with this guy.
“It’s pretty neat. And that’s why we do what we do. It’s not about big shiny equipment or it’s not about all the economic decisions we have to make. Of course, we have to make those, but it’s the ability to raise our kids on the farm and in the environment that we wish and so hope we make it a better place as we move forward.”