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• As a result of his success as a livestock and poultry producer, Thomas Porter, Jr., has been selected as the 2011 North Carolina winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award.
Thomas Porter, Jr.
“We are also a multiplication unit for Murphy-Brown. This means our gilts are grown as replacement breeding stock.”
He had shipped up to 1,100 pigs weekly, but now ships 931 pigs per week. “We produced more pigs than they could handle,” he explains. “Now, we’re shipping fewer pigs from fewer sows, yet we’re making the same money we made with more sows.”
He requires showers for anyone entering or leaving the swine facilities. Porter says, “We minimize disease risks with our bio-security measures and because of our location. There are no swine farms farther west than ours in the state.”
His isolated location is one reason his was chosen as a Murphy-Brown multiplier farm. Dead poultry, hogs and cattle are all composted on the farm. “No rendering trucks enter our farm, and that also helps with overall bio-security,” explains Porter.
The poultry operation consists of four pullet houses and four layer houses. The poultry is raised under contract with Tyson Foods. He built his first pullet houses in 1990, and began raising layers to produce broiler breeder eggs in 2009.
Layers remain on the farm 10 months and produce about 38,000 hatching eggs per day during peak production.
Pullets are brought to his farm just after hatching, and he keeps them 20 weeks before they are moved to layer houses. He’s paid on the basis of square feet in his poultry houses, and receives bonuses based on egg hatchability and feed conversion for the layers.
“Poultry has been a good fit with our cattle,” says Porter. “The poultry litter is dry, and we stack it before we apply it as fertilizer. Layer house cleanout takes place during August and September, and that is when we apply the litter to our pastures and hay fields. This has greatly reduced our need for commercial fertilizer.”