Roth Feeder Pigs, Inc. is a fifth-generation farrow-to-wean swine farm in Wauzeka. AV Roth and his wife Christine love to involve their kids in the farm and always stress the importance of taking care of their animals.
“This is the land I grew up on,” AV said.
Sustainability has been a pillar of the farm since AV’s great-great grandfather began farming the land. At Roth Feeder pigs, it goes beyond caring for the land. They use cover crops and no-till practices to preserve their soil on the rolling hills of Wisconsin’s driftless region.
AV said sustainability means having the ability to pass the farm from one generation to the next. AV wants to pass a profitable farm to his children and their children.
“If one generation isn’t profitable, it breaks the chain,” added AV.
AV said caring for the people and animals he works with is just as important as taking care of the land.
“I care deeply about the animals,” said AV.
AV’s employees are treated like family at Roth Feeder Pigs. Many of his employees have been farming with him for decades and have built a strong relationship as a team. He encourages his employees to get involved in the community and trusts and appreciates the work they do.
Taking care of the people and treating them well translates into exceptional animal care. A core value at the heart of the team’s success is the care and safety of the animals. Animals that are well cared for are happy, healthy and often times require little to no treatments or antibiotics. Antibiotic use in hog production has decreased by more than 30%, which lessens the cost for the farmer while promoting animal welfare.
AV goes above and beyond for his community and neighbors by controlling odor from his farm. In an air quality study, the effects of the smell from the farm were negligible. However, AV is still conscious of manure application and how that may affect his neighbors. Manure is often injected into the fields, eliminating smell and cutting down on trucks and tractors transporting manure on the road. AV avoids spreading manure on holidays or when his neighbors are having gatherings to be respectful of the community.
Applying nutrients generated at the farm to the farmland provides a cost savings and helps to enhance soil health and organic matter.
Pork producers across the nation are proud to be producing more pork than ever before with less inputs. Swine production uses 25% less water than 20 years ago. AV attributes the decrease in water use on his farm to improved facility management and waterer design. They use a cool cell ventilation system to keep the pigs cool in the summer, requiring less water than a sprinkler system and keeping pigs even more comfortable.
“Farmers are the original recyclers,” added AV.
The water used in the cool cells is reused. Keeping the animals comfortable while remaining committed to sustainability goals is a win-win at Roth Feeder Pigs.
“We are learning what we need to do to help the environment and community,” said AV. “I can’t wait for the next 20 years.”
Rachel Gerbitz is WFBF’s Director of Sustainability Communications and Partnerships. In this newly-created role, she oversees the organization’s sustainability communication efforts. Rachel grew up in Rock County where she was involved in 4-H and the Wisconsin Junior Holstein Association. She now lives in Kaukauna. In her spare time, Rachel manages her small herd of registered Jersey cattle.