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Creation Through Collaboration: The Founding of Murphy Family Farms

The pork industry is a fixture of American nutrition, agriculture, and economics. Its existence as a means of getting protein to the modern consumer is crucial, and while its product might seem straightforward, the process of development that’s made it into the pillar it is today hasn’t been simple. However, thanks to the innovators that entered the industry in decades past and are now leading it, America enjoys pork produced more efficiently than ever. Wendell H. Murphy, CEO of Murphy Family Farms, Inc.®, tells the story of his business, and producers today can learn from his example.

Founding Feed
Murphy began his life on his family’s farm in North Carolina, and by the time he got to college, he knew he wanted to work in agriculture. What he wanted to do specifically, however, remained more elusive, since his family’s farm wasn’t large enough to support him and the new family he would someday have. After graduation, he had a handful of job offers on the table, one of which wanted him to move all the way to Brazil and another that offered him a position teaching vocational agriculture at home. Murphy says he knew “that teaching was not what I wanted to do for my career, but it was at least a place to get started.” That would be how Murphy began in education, but in 1961, while traveling through rural North Carolina, a friend and fellow teacher of Murphy’s pointed out a custom grind and mix feed mill that they passed. “It was like a lightbulb went off in my head. That’s exactly what I wanted to do.”

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The impact of the number of sow functional teats on piglet colostrum intake - Dr. Mark Knauer

Video: The impact of the number of sow functional teats on piglet colostrum intake - Dr. Mark Knauer

As the swine industry continues to evolve, the focus on optimizing sow productivity is becoming more crucial. Recent research spearheaded by Dr. Mark Knauer, a Swine Extension Specialist at North Carolina State University, offers insightful perspectives in this regard. Dr. Knauer's research indicates that while pig geneticists have made successful strides in increasing litter size and the number of functional teeth in sows, the increase in functional teeth has not kept up with litter size. This disparity highlights a significant issue: the larger the litter size, the less colostrum per piglet is available for intake. The crucial role of colostrum for a piglet's health and survival underscores the significance of this problem.