Jack Remembers: Fattening our pigs wasn’t rocket science

By Jack Hackley

My dad raised Spotted Poland hogs (Poland China).  Back then, we had a corn picker that took the ear off the stalk and elevated it to a wagon the picker was pulling.  So consequently, we fed our hogs eared corn (corn on the cob).  They would eat every grain off the ear.  Then it was my job to go to the hog pen and pick up cobs to start a fire in the stove.
Spotted Polands were a good breed for us to raise because the feeder pigs or shoats that we sold were always in demand by farmers who would feed out our shoats weighing 50-60 pounds to the 250 pounds that would top the market back then.
It didn’t cost my dad hardly anything to produce these feeder pigs, just some corn for the sows, since he was the garbage collector for the businesses in the town of Oak Grove.
We sold Grade A milk and had plenty of old 10-gallon cans to place in the restaurants.  We would pick up spoiled produce from the grocery store.  Then we would take it back to the farm and dump the 10-gallon cans from the restaurants into a trough.  The pigs would go crazy over it.  These pigs would gain weight in a hurry.
The only problem for me is that I was ashamed to be a garbage collector, and if one of my classmates would be walking down the sidewalk, I would hide behind our pickup truck.  One day the prettiest girl in my class came by just as my dad and I were carrying out food scraps from the restaurant.  She went to school and told the other kids that my dad and I had on dirty clothes and were carrying garbage.  The superintendent, who was a farmer himself, heard what she said and reprimanded her by giving her a lesson in recycling years before it became popular.  He explained to her we were producing the pork and bacon that she liked to eat.
After collecting garbage for years, a law was passed that required raw food leftovers to be cooked.  That was the end of my dad collecting garbage.

Jack can be reached at PO Box 40, Oak Grove, MO 64075 or  Visit

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