Producing Excellence: John and Kati Hagenbuch

Producing Excellence: John and Kati Hagenbuch

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Beginning farmers Kati & John Hagenbuch raise their family and 9,600 hogs in Utica, IL: #WomenInAg via @farmcredit
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - 1:00pm

CAMPAIGN: Producing Excellence: Meet America's Farmers


Hagenbuch Family Farms
Utica, IL

Products: Raised or Grown: Hogs

Size of Operation: 9,600 hogs

Years in Business: 1

Farm Credit Partner: 1st Farm Credit Services

Years Working with Farm Credit: 11

Visit Hagenbuch Family Farms on Facebook

As young farmers and parents of young children, John and Kati Hagenbuch were faced with a tough decision: either invest more time in off-farm jobs and away from their children, or jump fully into production agriculture and continue to build a legacy of farming for the next generation. Their decision was to open their own hog finishing facility in 2011.

“I’ve always liked working with animals,” John said. “We wanted to find something that fits us well. Hogs were something we knew, and knew well.” John, a fourth generation farmer, grew up around hogs and still works part time for his father and uncle on the family’s grain operation.

After more than a year to gain regulator approvals and complete their building, Hagenbuch Family Farms took in its first load of feeder pigs, which are between 10 and 60 pounds, in late 2011. The facility will eventually house 9,600 hogs being finished, or grown to their full 240-270 pounds. The facility employs state-of-the-art feeding and temperature controls. In case of an emergency at the facility, the system calls John’s cell phone and other important phone numbers. In addition, with his experience in crop production, John knew the manure from the facility would provide an added income stream and has plans to spread the manure on surrounding fields. “We looked at what we could get out of adding hogs, and we knew one of the big assets would be the manure,” he said.

Another important component to the Hagenbuch’s fledgling swine operation is reaching out to and educating the community. At an open house in 2011, the couple hosted more than 375 people, and believe that the interest in their venture from community members and non-farmers meant they had a message to share. To do so, Kati, who manages their communications efforts, has created both a website and Facebook page. “I deal with and care for pigs daily, so I can talk about what we're doing and how we’re doing it. I just want people to have the right information,” she says, adding that she empathizes with consumers’ desire to have a healthy and safe food supply.  “I’m a mom, and I am concerned about what my kids eat,” she said. “I think about that, and we wouldn’t want to produce food that we couldn’t feed to our own children. I know that our pork is the safest and best we can get.”

Download a PDF version of this story here.

About Farm Credit
The Farm Credit System is a nationwide network of borrower-owned lending institutions and specialized service organizations. Farm Credit provides more than $199 billion in loans, leases, and related services to farmers, ranchers, rural homeowners, aquatic producers, timber harvesters, agribusinesses, and agricultural and rural utility cooperatives.

Congress established the System in 1916 to provide a reliable source of credit for the nation's farmers and ranchers. Today, the System provides more than one-third of the credit needed by those who live and work in rural America.

Farmers, ranchers, agribusiness, rural homeowners and rural utilities depend on the Farm Credit System’s funding and services to produce the high quality food and agricultural products enjoyed in the United States and around the globe.

The Farm Credit mission is to provide a reliable source of credit for American agriculture by making loans to qualified borrowers at competitive rates and providing insurance and related services.