Cicero Dobson is a third generation farmer in Duplin County. He grew up in a large farming family and helped his parents raise hogs, beef cattle, tobacco, and row crops. “When I was old enough, I told my father I wanted to try a public job,” says Cicero. His first off-farm job was for a nearby textile manufacturer, where he worked as a frame operator. He ended up staying there for the next 40 years.
“But farming never left my blood, especially working with animals,” notes Cicero. Throughout his life, Cicero raised hogs, selling them to large meat packers in the area. Today, Cicero is retired and lives and works the land where he grew up. He manages close to 70 acres, and recently added outdoor hogs to his operation as a way to diversify his income. Cicero is a member of the NC Natural Hog Growers Association.
Cicero purchases farmer’s hybrid feeder pigs (small pigs weighing about 50 pounds) from a farmer nearby who specializes in feeder pig production. He raises them until they are ready for market in dry lots and wooded areas that are planted to rye and millet in rotation with his hogs. He grows his own feed and sometimes provides the hogs with fruit and vegetable scraps, including watermelons, sweetpotatoes and cucumbers, from nearby warehouses and packing plants. “I like to see them have a little variety in their diet,” says Cicero. He hopes to expand his operation in the near future.
Cicero lives with his wife Mattie who runs an in-home day care.