John Arbuckle on the role of pigs in regenerative ag and why we have to build brands

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John Arbuckle, founder of Singing Pastures, joins us to discuss their uncommon, revolutionary, and regenerative practices of growing pigs. Also, you’ll hear about how they turned these pigs into a brand that many people enjoy today! 

LISTEN TO THE CONVERSATION ON:

What is the role of the humble pig in regenerative ag? How is building brands key to move and get customers on board? Is it possible to gain profit without compromising the environment?

Barley and Cheese 

Singing Pastures’ way of growing pigs in their farm is quite revolutionary and truly regenerative. Pigs, being non-ruminant animals, can’t consume grass alone; they have to be fed something else along with grass. As a cost-effective and organic solution, Singing Pastures started to feed their pigs barley and cheese, which had innumerable impacts not only to them, but also to our ecosystems. 

“If I were to raise pigs on pasture and not manage for rooting, I would be not rotationally grazing, I would be rotationally ruining.” – John Arbuckle

Minimising the Bad

Because of Singing Pastures’ purely organic feed, the pigs’ manure alone surprisingly does wonders in land regeneration. The paddock where ruminant animals’ graze can actually be revitalised by the compost coming from barley and cheese-fed pigs in a span of less than a month. As John said, they also don’t let their pigs learn how to root because of its negative impact to the environment, primarily soil erosion. These farming practices make sure that their farm’s wastes (that indirectly go to the Atlantic Ocean) are as least harmful as they could be. 

“We want those creeks to be as clear and cold and as full of dissolved oxygen and to have no nutrient load coming off of my farm.” – John Arbuckle

A Well-Received Product

From their organic pigs, Singing Pastures developed a brand they call Roam Sticks, a tasty snack available in supermarkets and online platforms. Although uncommon, as most sticks or jerky offered to the masses are made of beef, Roam Sticks have gathered many supporters because of its rich taste, not to mention that it’s been making noise for the way the pigs are being grown—the most organic way possible. Because pigs multiply way faster than cattles do, on top of their environmental impacts, they’re also good for the business.

“It is a very deep joy for me to talk to farmers and share our joys and sorrows together. So over the years, we’ve accumulated a fairly broad base of farmers who raise pork for our brand.” – John Arbuckle

Sharing Best Practices

More than the financial gains, John believes that their brand is one way that they can scale their regenerative practices and encourage other farmers to do the same. Singing Pastures is open to share their knowledge, experience, and expertise to those who are interested in looking into their way of farming. Their practices as well as their brand are far from ordinary and may be worth the buzz—it’s profitable without compromising the planet we all wish to protect. 

“Farmers need to be small business owners. Not just to the romantic idea of being a farmer, but we need to be able to read our profit and loss statements and create budgets over a 12 to 36 months period.” – John Arbuckle

Other Points Discussed:

Koen and John also talked about:

  • how people shouldn’t stop being curious in finding ways to be sustainable; 
  • how brands should scale to provide for opportunities for farmers to earn more; and 
  • how we should find farming ways that sequester carbon, rather than have people doing carbon sequestration by hand. 

To know more about John Arbucke and Singing Pastures, download and listen to this episode. 

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Feedback, comments, suggestions? Reach me via Twitter @KoenvanSeijen, in the comments below or through Get in Touch on this website.

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The above references an opinion and is for information and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.

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