David Whitman is a 3rd generation farmer in Duplin County. He lives with his wife, Sherri, a full-time elementary school teacher. Together, they have four children and one grandchild. David has always loved raising hogs. “When I was 14, my parents threatened to sell the farm. I begged and pleaded with them, until finally, they let me try and make a go of it. I’m so glad they did,” says David.
His commercial hog operation began in 1991, when he decided to quit his job at a nearby pork processing plant. “I decided it was time to be home more. Now, I can honestly say that I can’t wait for Mondays. That’s how much I love farming,” says David.
David manages 150 acres, of which approximately 10 is dedicated to hogs. In addition, he raises tobacco and row crops (e.g., corn, soybeans, and wheat) for feed for the hogs. To further diversify his operation, he recently added 10 acres of commercial cucumbers.
David runs a 30-sow farrow-to-finish operation (i.e., all phases of animal development, including reproduction). He raises a mixture of breeds, including Duroc, Hampshire and Chester White. His hogs live in the woods and in adjacent pastures that are divided into paddocks and organized according to age group. For example, newborn piglets are in a paddock with their mothers until they are weaned at about seven weeks of age. At that point, weaned pigs are moved as a group until they are ready for slaughter, somewhere between 225-275 pounds.
When David has some free time, which is rarely, he usually thinks about indulging in his love of ice-skating. Recalls David, “I’ll never forget the day I didn’t even have to leave the farm to get on the ice. One of my hog fields was covered in a thick sheet of it. I strapped on my skates and had a great time. “
David is a member of the NC Natural Hog Growers Association. For more information about the Association, send an email to Jcamiahjones@yahoo.com.