Simpson Livestock in Ault, Colo., continue to produce champion hogs | TheFencePost.com

Simpson Livestock in Ault, Colo., continue to produce champion hogs

Tony Bruguiere Ft. Collins, Colo.

Tony BruguiereJason Simpson of Simpson Livestock in Ault, Colo., and some of the project pigs in the company's show barn. The pigs are 40 to 50 pounds and at least six weeks old.

Some people think that pigs were the earliest animal to be domesticated. Paintings and carvings of pigs that date over 25,000 years ago have been found. The Chinese domesticated pigs 7,000 years ago. They have been one of Agriculture’s best income sources, and a very good source of protein.

Here is a little terminology for those that are not familiar with pigs. The words swine, hogs, and pigs, all refer to the pig family. Hog will generally refer to animals at or nearing market weight or finished for market. Farrow is used in the same way as calving in cattle production. The term barrow means a neutered male, and gilt means a young female. The two terms are analogous to steer and heifer in cattle. A sow is a producing female and a boar is a mature breeding male.

Most swine production has been consolidated into large commercial operations and Iowa and North Carolina are leaders in production. Colorado has its share of large pig farms, but it also has a number of livestock companies that specialize in producing show pigs that become projects for FFA or 4-H. Raising pigs to sell as market animals is probably one of the most common 4-H livestock projects.

Brothers, Jason and Lenny Simpson of Simpson Livestock in Ault, Colo., have been in the show pig industry since the late 70s. The family farm also produces sugar beets, pinto beans, corn, wheat and hay. Lenny takes care of the farm end and most of the crops are used as feed for the show animals. Simpson Livestock ran with 10 to 15 sows until the late 90s and now has 50 sows and three boars.

When asked why pigs are so popular as a 4-H project, Jason Simpson said, “The pig project has gained popularity over the last six to 10 years. I would say there is probably a little less work involved in the pig project as a whole. You don’t have the exercise programs like you do in the lambs. You don’t have to put them in a cool room like a steer and grow hair on them all summer.”

There is still plenty of work and responsibility that goes into a pig project, but one really big positive for pigs is that younger kids can do a pig project. “Pigs are a really good project for younger kids. In 4-H and FFA, the smaller kids can handle a hog pretty good. You don’t have to hold onto them like you do a lamb, or have a hold of the halter like you do a calf. You basically walk them around with a show stick and keep them moving. It’s a lot easier project for the younger kids. In a lot of these ‘jackpot’ shows, kids will start showing pigs when they are 4 or 5-years-old.” said Simpson.

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A pig project does not require a lot of space. Basic requirements would be a barn where the pig can get out of the sun as they do not tolerate heat well and they will also sunburn. Add in an area for exercise and that should work for start-up.

Jason and Lenny used to run the pig operation on a separate property, but recently decided to bring it back to the home ranch. Simpson Livestock now operates in brand new, modern, and purpose-built facilities on the family farm. There is a special covered area for their boars and sows, a climate controlled, 30 stall, farrowing barn, a climate controlled growing barn where the piglets are weaned and the finishing process is started, and a show barn where kids come to pick out their 40 to 50 pound project pigs.

A consistent line of champion barrows and gilts does not happen by accident. At the core of the process is genetics. All reproduction at Simpson Livestock is done on-site by Artificial Insemination (AI). Jason Simpson has an Animal Science degree from CSU and not only does the AI, but also the collection of Simpson Livestock’s three boars. Simpson Livestock also ships 30 to 40 doses of fresh semen each week to breeders across the country. Because pigs are old enough to breed in a year, a lot of genetic progress in a herd can be achieved in a short period of time by a breeder that knows what he is doing.

One measure of success for a breeder of show animals is how well the animals do at the fairs and shows where they are entered. The results for Simpson Livestock are really impressive. The list of Grand Champions and Reserve Grand Champions that have come from Simpson Livestock is far too long to list here, but is available on their web site. Two recent additions to the list are the Grand Champion Hog at the 2011 Weld County Fair and the Reserve Grand Champion Hog at the 2011 NWSS, which was exhibited by 9-year-old Lydia Straka of Yukon, Okla.

Besides show pigs, Simpson Livestock has expanded its operation with 300 head of pure bred Hampshire, club lamb producing ewes. Between lambs and pigs, they ship to 30 different states each year.

“We’ve made lots of friendships over the years. We get folks that come to buy animals for their kids year after year and some of these folks, their kids are all growed-up and done and we’re still closest friends.” said Jason Simpson. “We’ve been real successful for a number of years in the show pig industry, and we feel that we can reach out and help kids with their projects throughout the summer, not only in the beginning with picking out a great project but also getting their project to the end where they can max out with the best quality they can get.”

Besides private treaty sale, Simpson Livestock has for 30 years been having its Best Bet Pig Sale on the 2nd Saturday in April. This year it will be held at The Ranch in Loveland, Colo. For more complete information, please go to their web page at http://www.SimpsonLivestock.com/ShowPigs.html.

Some people think that pigs were the earliest animal to be domesticated. Paintings and carvings of pigs that date over 25,000 years ago have been found. The Chinese domesticated pigs 7,000 years ago. They have been one of Agriculture’s best income sources, and a very good source of protein.

Here is a little terminology for those that are not familiar with pigs. The words swine, hogs, and pigs, all refer to the pig family. Hog will generally refer to animals at or nearing market weight or finished for market. Farrow is used in the same way as calving in cattle production. The term barrow means a neutered male, and gilt means a young female. The two terms are analogous to steer and heifer in cattle. A sow is a producing female and a boar is a mature breeding male.

Most swine production has been consolidated into large commercial operations and Iowa and North Carolina are leaders in production. Colorado has its share of large pig farms, but it also has a number of livestock companies that specialize in producing show pigs that become projects for FFA or 4-H. Raising pigs to sell as market animals is probably one of the most common 4-H livestock projects.

Brothers, Jason and Lenny Simpson of Simpson Livestock in Ault, Colo., have been in the show pig industry since the late 70s. The family farm also produces sugar beets, pinto beans, corn, wheat and hay. Lenny takes care of the farm end and most of the crops are used as feed for the show animals. Simpson Livestock ran with 10 to 15 sows until the late 90s and now has 50 sows and three boars.

When asked why pigs are so popular as a 4-H project, Jason Simpson said, “The pig project has gained popularity over the last six to 10 years. I would say there is probably a little less work involved in the pig project as a whole. You don’t have the exercise programs like you do in the lambs. You don’t have to put them in a cool room like a steer and grow hair on them all summer.”

There is still plenty of work and responsibility that goes into a pig project, but one really big positive for pigs is that younger kids can do a pig project. “Pigs are a really good project for younger kids. In 4-H and FFA, the smaller kids can handle a hog pretty good. You don’t have to hold onto them like you do a lamb, or have a hold of the halter like you do a calf. You basically walk them around with a show stick and keep them moving. It’s a lot easier project for the younger kids. In a lot of these ‘jackpot’ shows, kids will start showing pigs when they are 4 or 5-years-old.” said Simpson.

A pig project does not require a lot of space. Basic requirements would be a barn where the pig can get out of the sun as they do not tolerate heat well and they will also sunburn. Add in an area for exercise and that should work for start-up.

Jason and Lenny used to run the pig operation on a separate property, but recently decided to bring it back to the home ranch. Simpson Livestock now operates in brand new, modern, and purpose-built facilities on the family farm. There is a special covered area for their boars and sows, a climate controlled, 30 stall, farrowing barn, a climate controlled growing barn where the piglets are weaned and the finishing process is started, and a show barn where kids come to pick out their 40 to 50 pound project pigs.

A consistent line of champion barrows and gilts does not happen by accident. At the core of the process is genetics. All reproduction at Simpson Livestock is done on-site by Artificial Insemination (AI). Jason Simpson has an Animal Science degree from CSU and not only does the AI, but also the collection of Simpson Livestock’s three boars. Simpson Livestock also ships 30 to 40 doses of fresh semen each week to breeders across the country. Because pigs are old enough to breed in a year, a lot of genetic progress in a herd can be achieved in a short period of time by a breeder that knows what he is doing.

One measure of success for a breeder of show animals is how well the animals do at the fairs and shows where they are entered. The results for Simpson Livestock are really impressive. The list of Grand Champions and Reserve Grand Champions that have come from Simpson Livestock is far too long to list here, but is available on their web site. Two recent additions to the list are the Grand Champion Hog at the 2011 Weld County Fair and the Reserve Grand Champion Hog at the 2011 NWSS, which was exhibited by 9-year-old Lydia Straka of Yukon, Okla.

Besides show pigs, Simpson Livestock has expanded its operation with 300 head of pure bred Hampshire, club lamb producing ewes. Between lambs and pigs, they ship to 30 different states each year.

“We’ve made lots of friendships over the years. We get folks that come to buy animals for their kids year after year and some of these folks, their kids are all growed-up and done and we’re still closest friends.” said Jason Simpson. “We’ve been real successful for a number of years in the show pig industry, and we feel that we can reach out and help kids with their projects throughout the summer, not only in the beginning with picking out a great project but also getting their project to the end where they can max out with the best quality they can get.”

Besides private treaty sale, Simpson Livestock has for 30 years been having its Best Bet Pig Sale on the 2nd Saturday in April. This year it will be held at The Ranch in Loveland, Colo. For more complete information, please go to their web page at http://www.SimpsonLivestock.com/ShowPigs.html.

Some people think that pigs were the earliest animal to be domesticated. Paintings and carvings of pigs that date over 25,000 years ago have been found. The Chinese domesticated pigs 7,000 years ago. They have been one of Agriculture’s best income sources, and a very good source of protein.

Here is a little terminology for those that are not familiar with pigs. The words swine, hogs, and pigs, all refer to the pig family. Hog will generally refer to animals at or nearing market weight or finished for market. Farrow is used in the same way as calving in cattle production. The term barrow means a neutered male, and gilt means a young female. The two terms are analogous to steer and heifer in cattle. A sow is a producing female and a boar is a mature breeding male.

Most swine production has been consolidated into large commercial operations and Iowa and North Carolina are leaders in production. Colorado has its share of large pig farms, but it also has a number of livestock companies that specialize in producing show pigs that become projects for FFA or 4-H. Raising pigs to sell as market animals is probably one of the most common 4-H livestock projects.

Brothers, Jason and Lenny Simpson of Simpson Livestock in Ault, Colo., have been in the show pig industry since the late 70s. The family farm also produces sugar beets, pinto beans, corn, wheat and hay. Lenny takes care of the farm end and most of the crops are used as feed for the show animals. Simpson Livestock ran with 10 to 15 sows until the late 90s and now has 50 sows and three boars.

When asked why pigs are so popular as a 4-H project, Jason Simpson said, “The pig project has gained popularity over the last six to 10 years. I would say there is probably a little less work involved in the pig project as a whole. You don’t have the exercise programs like you do in the lambs. You don’t have to put them in a cool room like a steer and grow hair on them all summer.”

There is still plenty of work and responsibility that goes into a pig project, but one really big positive for pigs is that younger kids can do a pig project. “Pigs are a really good project for younger kids. In 4-H and FFA, the smaller kids can handle a hog pretty good. You don’t have to hold onto them like you do a lamb, or have a hold of the halter like you do a calf. You basically walk them around with a show stick and keep them moving. It’s a lot easier project for the younger kids. In a lot of these ‘jackpot’ shows, kids will start showing pigs when they are 4 or 5-years-old.” said Simpson.

A pig project does not require a lot of space. Basic requirements would be a barn where the pig can get out of the sun as they do not tolerate heat well and they will also sunburn. Add in an area for exercise and that should work for start-up.

Jason and Lenny used to run the pig operation on a separate property, but recently decided to bring it back to the home ranch. Simpson Livestock now operates in brand new, modern, and purpose-built facilities on the family farm. There is a special covered area for their boars and sows, a climate controlled, 30 stall, farrowing barn, a climate controlled growing barn where the piglets are weaned and the finishing process is started, and a show barn where kids come to pick out their 40 to 50 pound project pigs.

A consistent line of champion barrows and gilts does not happen by accident. At the core of the process is genetics. All reproduction at Simpson Livestock is done on-site by Artificial Insemination (AI). Jason Simpson has an Animal Science degree from CSU and not only does the AI, but also the collection of Simpson Livestock’s three boars. Simpson Livestock also ships 30 to 40 doses of fresh semen each week to breeders across the country. Because pigs are old enough to breed in a year, a lot of genetic progress in a herd can be achieved in a short period of time by a breeder that knows what he is doing.

One measure of success for a breeder of show animals is how well the animals do at the fairs and shows where they are entered. The results for Simpson Livestock are really impressive. The list of Grand Champions and Reserve Grand Champions that have come from Simpson Livestock is far too long to list here, but is available on their web site. Two recent additions to the list are the Grand Champion Hog at the 2011 Weld County Fair and the Reserve Grand Champion Hog at the 2011 NWSS, which was exhibited by 9-year-old Lydia Straka of Yukon, Okla.

Besides show pigs, Simpson Livestock has expanded its operation with 300 head of pure bred Hampshire, club lamb producing ewes. Between lambs and pigs, they ship to 30 different states each year.

“We’ve made lots of friendships over the years. We get folks that come to buy animals for their kids year after year and some of these folks, their kids are all growed-up and done and we’re still closest friends.” said Jason Simpson. “We’ve been real successful for a number of years in the show pig industry, and we feel that we can reach out and help kids with their projects throughout the summer, not only in the beginning with picking out a great project but also getting their project to the end where they can max out with the best quality they can get.”

Besides private treaty sale, Simpson Livestock has for 30 years been having its Best Bet Pig Sale on the 2nd Saturday in April. This year it will be held at The Ranch in Loveland, Colo. For more complete information, please go to their web page at http://www.SimpsonLivestock.com/ShowPigs.html.

Some people think that pigs were the earliest animal to be domesticated. Paintings and carvings of pigs that date over 25,000 years ago have been found. The Chinese domesticated pigs 7,000 years ago. They have been one of Agriculture’s best income sources, and a very good source of protein.

Here is a little terminology for those that are not familiar with pigs. The words swine, hogs, and pigs, all refer to the pig family. Hog will generally refer to animals at or nearing market weight or finished for market. Farrow is used in the same way as calving in cattle production. The term barrow means a neutered male, and gilt means a young female. The two terms are analogous to steer and heifer in cattle. A sow is a producing female and a boar is a mature breeding male.

Most swine production has been consolidated into large commercial operations and Iowa and North Carolina are leaders in production. Colorado has its share of large pig farms, but it also has a number of livestock companies that specialize in producing show pigs that become projects for FFA or 4-H. Raising pigs to sell as market animals is probably one of the most common 4-H livestock projects.

Brothers, Jason and Lenny Simpson of Simpson Livestock in Ault, Colo., have been in the show pig industry since the late 70s. The family farm also produces sugar beets, pinto beans, corn, wheat and hay. Lenny takes care of the farm end and most of the crops are used as feed for the show animals. Simpson Livestock ran with 10 to 15 sows until the late 90s and now has 50 sows and three boars.

When asked why pigs are so popular as a 4-H project, Jason Simpson said, “The pig project has gained popularity over the last six to 10 years. I would say there is probably a little less work involved in the pig project as a whole. You don’t have the exercise programs like you do in the lambs. You don’t have to put them in a cool room like a steer and grow hair on them all summer.”

There is still plenty of work and responsibility that goes into a pig project, but one really big positive for pigs is that younger kids can do a pig project. “Pigs are a really good project for younger kids. In 4-H and FFA, the smaller kids can handle a hog pretty good. You don’t have to hold onto them like you do a lamb, or have a hold of the halter like you do a calf. You basically walk them around with a show stick and keep them moving. It’s a lot easier project for the younger kids. In a lot of these ‘jackpot’ shows, kids will start showing pigs when they are 4 or 5-years-old.” said Simpson.

A pig project does not require a lot of space. Basic requirements would be a barn where the pig can get out of the sun as they do not tolerate heat well and they will also sunburn. Add in an area for exercise and that should work for start-up.

Jason and Lenny used to run the pig operation on a separate property, but recently decided to bring it back to the home ranch. Simpson Livestock now operates in brand new, modern, and purpose-built facilities on the family farm. There is a special covered area for their boars and sows, a climate controlled, 30 stall, farrowing barn, a climate controlled growing barn where the piglets are weaned and the finishing process is started, and a show barn where kids come to pick out their 40 to 50 pound project pigs.

A consistent line of champion barrows and gilts does not happen by accident. At the core of the process is genetics. All reproduction at Simpson Livestock is done on-site by Artificial Insemination (AI). Jason Simpson has an Animal Science degree from CSU and not only does the AI, but also the collection of Simpson Livestock’s three boars. Simpson Livestock also ships 30 to 40 doses of fresh semen each week to breeders across the country. Because pigs are old enough to breed in a year, a lot of genetic progress in a herd can be achieved in a short period of time by a breeder that knows what he is doing.

One measure of success for a breeder of show animals is how well the animals do at the fairs and shows where they are entered. The results for Simpson Livestock are really impressive. The list of Grand Champions and Reserve Grand Champions that have come from Simpson Livestock is far too long to list here, but is available on their web site. Two recent additions to the list are the Grand Champion Hog at the 2011 Weld County Fair and the Reserve Grand Champion Hog at the 2011 NWSS, which was exhibited by 9-year-old Lydia Straka of Yukon, Okla.

Besides show pigs, Simpson Livestock has expanded its operation with 300 head of pure bred Hampshire, club lamb producing ewes. Between lambs and pigs, they ship to 30 different states each year.

“We’ve made lots of friendships over the years. We get folks that come to buy animals for their kids year after year and some of these folks, their kids are all growed-up and done and we’re still closest friends.” said Jason Simpson. “We’ve been real successful for a number of years in the show pig industry, and we feel that we can reach out and help kids with their projects throughout the summer, not only in the beginning with picking out a great project but also getting their project to the end where they can max out with the best quality they can get.”

Besides private treaty sale, Simpson Livestock has for 30 years been having its Best Bet Pig Sale on the 2nd Saturday in April. This year it will be held at The Ranch in Loveland, Colo. For more complete information, please go to their web page at http://www.SimpsonLivestock.com/ShowPigs.html.

Some people think that pigs were the earliest animal to be domesticated. Paintings and carvings of pigs that date over 25,000 years ago have been found. The Chinese domesticated pigs 7,000 years ago. They have been one of Agriculture’s best income sources, and a very good source of protein.

Here is a little terminology for those that are not familiar with pigs. The words swine, hogs, and pigs, all refer to the pig family. Hog will generally refer to animals at or nearing market weight or finished for market. Farrow is used in the same way as calving in cattle production. The term barrow means a neutered male, and gilt means a young female. The two terms are analogous to steer and heifer in cattle. A sow is a producing female and a boar is a mature breeding male.

Most swine production has been consolidated into large commercial operations and Iowa and North Carolina are leaders in production. Colorado has its share of large pig farms, but it also has a number of livestock companies that specialize in producing show pigs that become projects for FFA or 4-H. Raising pigs to sell as market animals is probably one of the most common 4-H livestock projects.

Brothers, Jason and Lenny Simpson of Simpson Livestock in Ault, Colo., have been in the show pig industry since the late 70s. The family farm also produces sugar beets, pinto beans, corn, wheat and hay. Lenny takes care of the farm end and most of the crops are used as feed for the show animals. Simpson Livestock ran with 10 to 15 sows until the late 90s and now has 50 sows and three boars.

When asked why pigs are so popular as a 4-H project, Jason Simpson said, “The pig project has gained popularity over the last six to 10 years. I would say there is probably a little less work involved in the pig project as a whole. You don’t have the exercise programs like you do in the lambs. You don’t have to put them in a cool room like a steer and grow hair on them all summer.”

There is still plenty of work and responsibility that goes into a pig project, but one really big positive for pigs is that younger kids can do a pig project. “Pigs are a really good project for younger kids. In 4-H and FFA, the smaller kids can handle a hog pretty good. You don’t have to hold onto them like you do a lamb, or have a hold of the halter like you do a calf. You basically walk them around with a show stick and keep them moving. It’s a lot easier project for the younger kids. In a lot of these ‘jackpot’ shows, kids will start showing pigs when they are 4 or 5-years-old.” said Simpson.

A pig project does not require a lot of space. Basic requirements would be a barn where the pig can get out of the sun as they do not tolerate heat well and they will also sunburn. Add in an area for exercise and that should work for start-up.

Jason and Lenny used to run the pig operation on a separate property, but recently decided to bring it back to the home ranch. Simpson Livestock now operates in brand new, modern, and purpose-built facilities on the family farm. There is a special covered area for their boars and sows, a climate controlled, 30 stall, farrowing barn, a climate controlled growing barn where the piglets are weaned and the finishing process is started, and a show barn where kids come to pick out their 40 to 50 pound project pigs.

A consistent line of champion barrows and gilts does not happen by accident. At the core of the process is genetics. All reproduction at Simpson Livestock is done on-site by Artificial Insemination (AI). Jason Simpson has an Animal Science degree from CSU and not only does the AI, but also the collection of Simpson Livestock’s three boars. Simpson Livestock also ships 30 to 40 doses of fresh semen each week to breeders across the country. Because pigs are old enough to breed in a year, a lot of genetic progress in a herd can be achieved in a short period of time by a breeder that knows what he is doing.

One measure of success for a breeder of show animals is how well the animals do at the fairs and shows where they are entered. The results for Simpson Livestock are really impressive. The list of Grand Champions and Reserve Grand Champions that have come from Simpson Livestock is far too long to list here, but is available on their web site. Two recent additions to the list are the Grand Champion Hog at the 2011 Weld County Fair and the Reserve Grand Champion Hog at the 2011 NWSS, which was exhibited by 9-year-old Lydia Straka of Yukon, Okla.

Besides show pigs, Simpson Livestock has expanded its operation with 300 head of pure bred Hampshire, club lamb producing ewes. Between lambs and pigs, they ship to 30 different states each year.

“We’ve made lots of friendships over the years. We get folks that come to buy animals for their kids year after year and some of these folks, their kids are all growed-up and done and we’re still closest friends.” said Jason Simpson. “We’ve been real successful for a number of years in the show pig industry, and we feel that we can reach out and help kids with their projects throughout the summer, not only in the beginning with picking out a great project but also getting their project to the end where they can max out with the best quality they can get.”

Besides private treaty sale, Simpson Livestock has for 30 years been having its Best Bet Pig Sale on the 2nd Saturday in April. This year it will be held at The Ranch in Loveland, Colo. For more complete information, please go to their web page at http://www.SimpsonLivestock.com/ShowPigs.html.

Some people think that pigs were the earliest animal to be domesticated. Paintings and carvings of pigs that date over 25,000 years ago have been found. The Chinese domesticated pigs 7,000 years ago. They have been one of Agriculture’s best income sources, and a very good source of protein.

Here is a little terminology for those that are not familiar with pigs. The words swine, hogs, and pigs, all refer to the pig family. Hog will generally refer to animals at or nearing market weight or finished for market. Farrow is used in the same way as calving in cattle production. The term barrow means a neutered male, and gilt means a young female. The two terms are analogous to steer and heifer in cattle. A sow is a producing female and a boar is a mature breeding male.

Most swine production has been consolidated into large commercial operations and Iowa and North Carolina are leaders in production. Colorado has its share of large pig farms, but it also has a number of livestock companies that specialize in producing show pigs that become projects for FFA or 4-H. Raising pigs to sell as market animals is probably one of the most common 4-H livestock projects.

Brothers, Jason and Lenny Simpson of Simpson Livestock in Ault, Colo., have been in the show pig industry since the late 70s. The family farm also produces sugar beets, pinto beans, corn, wheat and hay. Lenny takes care of the farm end and most of the crops are used as feed for the show animals. Simpson Livestock ran with 10 to 15 sows until the late 90s and now has 50 sows and three boars.

When asked why pigs are so popular as a 4-H project, Jason Simpson said, “The pig project has gained popularity over the last six to 10 years. I would say there is probably a little less work involved in the pig project as a whole. You don’t have the exercise programs like you do in the lambs. You don’t have to put them in a cool room like a steer and grow hair on them all summer.”

There is still plenty of work and responsibility that goes into a pig project, but one really big positive for pigs is that younger kids can do a pig project. “Pigs are a really good project for younger kids. In 4-H and FFA, the smaller kids can handle a hog pretty good. You don’t have to hold onto them like you do a lamb, or have a hold of the halter like you do a calf. You basically walk them around with a show stick and keep them moving. It’s a lot easier project for the younger kids. In a lot of these ‘jackpot’ shows, kids will start showing pigs when they are 4 or 5-years-old.” said Simpson.

A pig project does not require a lot of space. Basic requirements would be a barn where the pig can get out of the sun as they do not tolerate heat well and they will also sunburn. Add in an area for exercise and that should work for start-up.

Jason and Lenny used to run the pig operation on a separate property, but recently decided to bring it back to the home ranch. Simpson Livestock now operates in brand new, modern, and purpose-built facilities on the family farm. There is a special covered area for their boars and sows, a climate controlled, 30 stall, farrowing barn, a climate controlled growing barn where the piglets are weaned and the finishing process is started, and a show barn where kids come to pick out their 40 to 50 pound project pigs.

A consistent line of champion barrows and gilts does not happen by accident. At the core of the process is genetics. All reproduction at Simpson Livestock is done on-site by Artificial Insemination (AI). Jason Simpson has an Animal Science degree from CSU and not only does the AI, but also the collection of Simpson Livestock’s three boars. Simpson Livestock also ships 30 to 40 doses of fresh semen each week to breeders across the country. Because pigs are old enough to breed in a year, a lot of genetic progress in a herd can be achieved in a short period of time by a breeder that knows what he is doing.

One measure of success for a breeder of show animals is how well the animals do at the fairs and shows where they are entered. The results for Simpson Livestock are really impressive. The list of Grand Champions and Reserve Grand Champions that have come from Simpson Livestock is far too long to list here, but is available on their web site. Two recent additions to the list are the Grand Champion Hog at the 2011 Weld County Fair and the Reserve Grand Champion Hog at the 2011 NWSS, which was exhibited by 9-year-old Lydia Straka of Yukon, Okla.

Besides show pigs, Simpson Livestock has expanded its operation with 300 head of pure bred Hampshire, club lamb producing ewes. Between lambs and pigs, they ship to 30 different states each year.

“We’ve made lots of friendships over the years. We get folks that come to buy animals for their kids year after year and some of these folks, their kids are all growed-up and done and we’re still closest friends.” said Jason Simpson. “We’ve been real successful for a number of years in the show pig industry, and we feel that we can reach out and help kids with their projects throughout the summer, not only in the beginning with picking out a great project but also getting their project to the end where they can max out with the best quality they can get.”

Besides private treaty sale, Simpson Livestock has for 30 years been having its Best Bet Pig Sale on the 2nd Saturday in April. This year it will be held at The Ranch in Loveland, Colo. For more complete information, please go to their web page at http://www.SimpsonLivestock.com/ShowPigs.html.

Some people think that pigs were the earliest animal to be domesticated. Paintings and carvings of pigs that date over 25,000 years ago have been found. The Chinese domesticated pigs 7,000 years ago. They have been one of Agriculture’s best income sources, and a very good source of protein.

Here is a little terminology for those that are not familiar with pigs. The words swine, hogs, and pigs, all refer to the pig family. Hog will generally refer to animals at or nearing market weight or finished for market. Farrow is used in the same way as calving in cattle production. The term barrow means a neutered male, and gilt means a young female. The two terms are analogous to steer and heifer in cattle. A sow is a producing female and a boar is a mature breeding male.

Most swine production has been consolidated into large commercial operations and Iowa and North Carolina are leaders in production. Colorado has its share of large pig farms, but it also has a number of livestock companies that specialize in producing show pigs that become projects for FFA or 4-H. Raising pigs to sell as market animals is probably one of the most common 4-H livestock projects.

Brothers, Jason and Lenny Simpson of Simpson Livestock in Ault, Colo., have been in the show pig industry since the late 70s. The family farm also produces sugar beets, pinto beans, corn, wheat and hay. Lenny takes care of the farm end and most of the crops are used as feed for the show animals. Simpson Livestock ran with 10 to 15 sows until the late 90s and now has 50 sows and three boars.

When asked why pigs are so popular as a 4-H project, Jason Simpson said, “The pig project has gained popularity over the last six to 10 years. I would say there is probably a little less work involved in the pig project as a whole. You don’t have the exercise programs like you do in the lambs. You don’t have to put them in a cool room like a steer and grow hair on them all summer.”

There is still plenty of work and responsibility that goes into a pig project, but one really big positive for pigs is that younger kids can do a pig project. “Pigs are a really good project for younger kids. In 4-H and FFA, the smaller kids can handle a hog pretty good. You don’t have to hold onto them like you do a lamb, or have a hold of the halter like you do a calf. You basically walk them around with a show stick and keep them moving. It’s a lot easier project for the younger kids. In a lot of these ‘jackpot’ shows, kids will start showing pigs when they are 4 or 5-years-old.” said Simpson.

A pig project does not require a lot of space. Basic requirements would be a barn where the pig can get out of the sun as they do not tolerate heat well and they will also sunburn. Add in an area for exercise and that should work for start-up.

Jason and Lenny used to run the pig operation on a separate property, but recently decided to bring it back to the home ranch. Simpson Livestock now operates in brand new, modern, and purpose-built facilities on the family farm. There is a special covered area for their boars and sows, a climate controlled, 30 stall, farrowing barn, a climate controlled growing barn where the piglets are weaned and the finishing process is started, and a show barn where kids come to pick out their 40 to 50 pound project pigs.

A consistent line of champion barrows and gilts does not happen by accident. At the core of the process is genetics. All reproduction at Simpson Livestock is done on-site by Artificial Insemination (AI). Jason Simpson has an Animal Science degree from CSU and not only does the AI, but also the collection of Simpson Livestock’s three boars. Simpson Livestock also ships 30 to 40 doses of fresh semen each week to breeders across the country. Because pigs are old enough to breed in a year, a lot of genetic progress in a herd can be achieved in a short period of time by a breeder that knows what he is doing.

One measure of success for a breeder of show animals is how well the animals do at the fairs and shows where they are entered. The results for Simpson Livestock are really impressive. The list of Grand Champions and Reserve Grand Champions that have come from Simpson Livestock is far too long to list here, but is available on their web site. Two recent additions to the list are the Grand Champion Hog at the 2011 Weld County Fair and the Reserve Grand Champion Hog at the 2011 NWSS, which was exhibited by 9-year-old Lydia Straka of Yukon, Okla.

Besides show pigs, Simpson Livestock has expanded its operation with 300 head of pure bred Hampshire, club lamb producing ewes. Between lambs and pigs, they ship to 30 different states each year.

“We’ve made lots of friendships over the years. We get folks that come to buy animals for their kids year after year and some of these folks, their kids are all growed-up and done and we’re still closest friends.” said Jason Simpson. “We’ve been real successful for a number of years in the show pig industry, and we feel that we can reach out and help kids with their projects throughout the summer, not only in the beginning with picking out a great project but also getting their project to the end where they can max out with the best quality they can get.”

Besides private treaty sale, Simpson Livestock has for 30 years been having its Best Bet Pig Sale on the 2nd Saturday in April. This year it will be held at The Ranch in Loveland, Colo. For more complete information, please go to their web page at http://www.SimpsonLivestock.com/ShowPigs.html.